Analyzing the Arizona Coyotes roster going into the season

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 16: Head coach Rick Tocchet of the Arizona Coyotes watches from the bench during the third period of the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Gila River Arena on February 16, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Maple Leafs 2-0. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 16: Head coach Rick Tocchet of the Arizona Coyotes watches from the bench during the third period of the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Gila River Arena on February 16, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Maple Leafs 2-0. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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The Arizona Coyotes announced their roster for the start of the season yesterday. The 21 man roster features 3 goalies, 6 defenseman, and 12 forwards, leaving room for change. Let’s break it down.

The Arizona Coyotes start their season against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday, and there are plenty of reasons for hope going into the new yearRick Tocchet is going to have his hands full throughout the year when he considers who plays where for the ‘Yotes.

The Forwards

Nick Schmaltz, Clayton Keller, Vinnie Hinostroza, Brad Richardson,  Christian Dvorak, Derek Stepan, Barrett Hayton, Lawson Crouse, Phil Kessel, Carl Soderberg, Michael Grabner and Conor Garland 

The Arizona Coyotes have a realitively deep forward group, with their fourth line ranked second out of all fourth lines on Daily Faceoff. The Coyotes big 3 forwards of the future (Christian Dvorak, Nick Schmaltz, and Clayton Keller) are all locks for top 6 positions with the franchise. Whether or not Schmaltz ends up playing as the top line center, or if it will be Derek Stepan will be decided throughout the year.

Schmaltz, who was acquired through trade last year, fell to an injury late in the season. His face-off percentage fell last season, dropping to 32.3% with the ‘Yotes in 17 games. Schmaltz will need time to mature into a top line role with the Coyotes. However that does not change that  he is the future.

The Defenseman

Niklas Hjalmarsson, Jakob Chychrun, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Alex Goligoski, Jason Demers,  and Jordan Oesterle 

Jason Demurs averaged 20 minutes of ice time last season with the Coyotes through 35 games. Niklas Hjalmarsson averaged 19:42 through 82 games last year. I think it will be interesting to see how the ice time is split between the defensive pairs. In all honesty the only lock is Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

The Goalies

Eric Comrie, Antti Raanta, and Darcy Kuemper

Raanta would be a great goaltender if he could only stay healthy. Kuemper, who played in 55 games with the ‘Yotes last season, won 27 games. Honestly very few goalie tandems in the NHL are so equal is Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta. Kuemper has more playing time in the NHL and is younger, but Raanta is the guy for the Coyotes if he can get healthy.

Eric Comrie was added into the fold to help add more depth at goaltending. Both Raanta and Kuemper have had their fair share of injuries so far during training camp and preseason so a little depth won’t hurt anyone for the time being.