Teams around the NHL are starting to make moves on a number of free agents coming out of college and the Arizona Coyotes should get involved.
The Arizona Coyotes are building a strong system of development and making a further connection with a local college program could go a long way to strengthening hockey in the state.
The Coyotes, still in the hunt for the post-season, have had a complicated existence since moving to the desert, but there are clear signs that hockey deserves to remain in the state of Arizona.
Auston Matthews, a true home-grown product of Arizona is tearing things up in the NHL and is now a beacon of hope for other young hopefuls in the state.
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Now, the road to professional hockey is starting to progress through the American collegiate system – with the Arizona State Sun Devils establishing themselves as a hockey program to be respected.
The Sun Devils have posted a 21-12-1 record this season, having only established before the 2015/16 campaign.
The progress of the ASU program is something that can be seen as a huge achievement in such a short space of time, with the success of the college side helping to strengthen hockey within the state.
And it is this program that the Arizona Coyotes should look to build an even stronger relationship with, with a number of talented young prospects now able to develop through the system and make a move into the professional game.
Pasichnuk is 21-year-old left-handed blueliner that stands at 6-foot, 185lbs. He has progressed well during his time in the desert college program, being named as team captain this season.
In 99 regular season games with the Sun Devils, Pasichnuk has 69 points (27 goals, 42 assists) and has found himself earning a +/- rating of +25 – leading the team in this category.
If Pasichnuk opts to forego a senior season with the Sun Devils, the Coyotes should be picking up the phone and getting him on board – with a season in Tucson something that could help him truly take the next step towards making the NHL.
Walker, Pasichnuk’s teammate, maybe another player that interests the Coyotes – and a player that may also be very interested in joining the Coyotes.
The 22-year-old right-hander has 34 points (23 goals and 11 assists) in 31 regular season games with the Sun Devils this year and the Phoenix, Arizona native might be interested in making his move into the professional game with his local team.
Very much a goal scorer, Walker has 40 in just 63 regular season games with the college program since joining them in the 2017/18 season.
Both Walker and his teammate need some further developing in the minors, with the Tucson Roadrunners an ideal place for promising young prospects to adjust to the professional game.
With the Coyotes likely to bring some more young prospects up into the AHL next year, adding a couple of talented college prospects would be a smart move and could see both the organisation and player benefit greatly.
Having a home-grown player such as Walker signed, developing his game in his home state, first in college, then as a professional, could be a huge boost for hockey in Arizona and could build stronger links between clubs around the state.
Having a clear development path through college into the professional game is something that can only strengthen the Arizona Coyotes’ position within the state and the league.
So what do you think Coyotes fans? Would you like to see the Coyotes build stronger links with the Sun Devils? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!