For the past few weeks, preseason games have been played in the NHL, but it’s only the beginning as the season is set to begin this week. For the Arizona Coyotes, they wrapped up their preseason with a shutout 4-0 win over the San Jose Sharks, finishing up with a 2-3-1 record overall. Preseason is meant to see how players react to situations on and off the ice, and Derek Stepan certainly turned heads this preseason.
“I’m not going to stop being a leader. It’s who I am.” Stepan said after the game in San Jose, who also scored twice for the Yotes. Stepan is currently one of the 5 candidates who could be wearing a letter on his jersey this season. Regardless if it’s the captaincy or the alternate captaincy letter, Stepan is clearly confident that he will make an excellent leader. Stepan also added that he feels fine about the preseason record. “No body remembers it by December… we just have to focus on getting better.”
Even the Arizona Coyotes backup goal tender, Louis Domingue, is starting to get his game back up as he played in every game during the preseason. “It’s time we changed the mentality around here and get back on the winning side,” and Louis is confident in himself and the team this year to accomplish that goal. Louis is set to be the Coyotes back up behind newly acquired goal tender Antti Rantaa.
The Coyotes first game is set to be played on October 5th against the Anaheim Ducks in Anaheim.
There has been a lot of hype around rookie forward Clayton Keller who was selected 7th overall in the 2016 draft and his preseason stats only fuel the fire of that hype. He lead the team with 8 points in the preseason as he played on the first line along side center Derek Stepan and winger Max Domi. That line seemed to be developing a lot of chemistry and is making the upcoming season look highly promising. If Keller keeps this style of play up, he could have a shot at winning the Calder Trophy which is awarded to the best rookie in the league, but he has some serious competition against the top picks from this year’s draft Nico Hischier and Nolan Patrick.
Head Coach Rick Tocchet is very impressed with all of his players. Although he can’t keep all of them on the roster for opening night against the Vegas Golden Knights, he likes the hard work everyone is putting in especially with Zac Rinaldo. Rinaldo was signed as a free agent this offseason.
“I’m here to work hard,” he said after a practice day in Arizona. Clearly his hard work is turning heads around the coaching staff and management. Even if he doesn’t crack the roster, he would still be a valuable asset on the Coyotes AHL team the Tucson Roadrunners.
Could all the chemistry come together this season to make it a memorable one or will the Coyotes finish at the bottom of the standings once again?
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