Arizona Coyotes’ top prospect Clayton Keller made an impressive statement in his World Junior Championship debut.
Look, you don’t have to be an Arizona Coyotes fan to be excited about Clayton Keller.
He’s the top prospect in an organization loaded with top prospects.
Oh, and by the way, he’s American.
None of that please and thank you, maple syrup, maple leaf, and bitterly cold True North stuff. Nope.
Just a 100% red-blooded, Missouri born star-in-the-making.
After suffering an early season injury while playing at Boston University, Keller returned to action just in time to be included in Team USA’s bid to steal the World Junior Championship.
Keller’s inclusion on the USA team was a no brainer.
His offensive talent is among the highest in the USA hockey pool. Similarly, his defensive acumen has been touted by BU head coach David Quinn as an important part of what makes the 18-year-old such a valuable hockey player.
Clayton Keller’s combination of speed, skill, and IQ is part of what has seen him begin to be rated above highly touted prospect Dylan Strome in the Arizona Coyotes’ prospect pool.
Knowing that, it should come as a surprise to absolutely no one that in his debut for the USA at the World Juniors, Keller did what he does best…put points on the scoreboard.
Keller’s first goal wasn’t anything supremely special. Just an undersized guy hanging around the net and picking up the loose change for deposit.
His second goal was a little reminiscent of a few plays last season made by fellow Arizona Coyotes winger Max Domi.
The difference? Keller wasn’t looking to pass as Domi often is.
Clayton Keller stole the puck and circled around and sniped a filthy wrister past the Latvian goaltender.
Team USA went on to win 6-1.
This time last season, it would’ve seemed blasphemy for someone to say there would be a better prospect in the Arizona Coyotes’ system than Dylan Strome. Particularly if that prospect wasn’t a certain young man born and bred in Scottsdale, Arizona.
That’s the reality of Clayton Keller, however.
He’s that good, and he could be ready to go as soon as next season.
5’10 and possibly overlooked by some because of it?
Just wait til you see him play in the desert.