Arizona Coyotes Early Season MVP

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 15: Clayton Keller #9 of the Arizona Coyotes celebrates with J.J. Moser #90 after scoring a goal against the Boston Bruins during the second period at TD Garden on October 15, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 15: Clayton Keller #9 of the Arizona Coyotes celebrates with J.J. Moser #90 after scoring a goal against the Boston Bruins during the second period at TD Garden on October 15, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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The Arizona Coyotes are twenty games into the 2022-23 season. At the quarter mark the team MVP as voted by Howlin’ Hockey readers and Coyotes fans is Clayton Keller. This should come as no surprise as Keller has been a superstar. Buried in the obscurity of the Sonoran Desert, only the fans who reside in the Copper State know about Keller’s greatness.

Hockey purest who can’t seem to look past the Continental Divide are missing out on the nightly highlight reel, that is our very own Clayton Keller. This will change soon, and mark my words Keller will be a household name.

For those out there hoping that the team will pull up steaks and move to colder pastures, I have bad news for you. The Tempe City Council unanimously voted (7-0) to approve the new Tempe Entertainment District.

What that means is a permanent home in the desert is happening. The team is here to stay. If you have not been following this situation, I suggest you check out Chierstin Susel, Craig Morgan, Steve Peters, or the rest of the amazing crew at PHNX Sports. Great stuff.

Channel your hate elsewhere. The team is here to stay. Sorry, not sorry to errybody outside of Arizona. We love our Coyotes. They are not going anywhere.

Howlin’ Hockey readers participated in a poll for early season MVP, which included Clayton Keller, Karel Vejmelka, JJ Moser, and Lawson Crouse. Each deserving of the honor in their own way. Keller came out on top with 43.2% of the votes.

Through 20 games Keller has an impressive 7 goals, 14 assists, and 21 points. At 24 years old, Keller is just coming into his own and is proving that last year was no fluke. Keller has the Coyotes clicking on the powerplay, converting 23.2% on the man advantage. Good for 13th in league. Three of his goals and four of his assists have come on the powerplay. In the Coyotes 7 wins, Keller has 12 points.

The dude is a gamer, plain and simple. You all know this though. I’m just stating the obvious.

You watch the games and you know how great Keller is. With Nick Schmaltz back in the fold, get ready for his numbers to sky rocket. If you did not draft him or snag him yet (he is only owned in 71% of Yahoo leagues) in your fantasy league, I advise you to do so ASAP. While you’re at it, grab Schmaltz too.

Keller walking away with the fan-voted early season MVP does not take anything away from the other players on this list. Karel Vejmelka has been outstanding through the first quarter of the season. In his 14 games played (13 started) he is 6-5-2 with 2 shutouts, a 2.97 goals against average, and a .916 save percentage. What makes his numbers even more impressive is that he has faced the 10th most shots in the league (488). Vejmelka has been a busy man this season. I do not see that changing.

JJ Moser and Lawson Crouse rounded out the voting tied for third. No disrespect to either of them. The last place finish speaks volumes on how great Keller and Vejmelka have been. Through the first 20 games, Crouse leads the Coyotes with 10 goals, and has 50 hits.

The big man is making an impact. Boy is he fun to watch.

Moser has been better than anybody expected. He has 3 goals, 10 assists, and 39 blocked shots. I would argue that he is the best defenseman on the team.

With all of this talent, the Coyote have a lot to look forward to as we enter the second quarter of the season. With eight home games in December and seven in January, the team finally has the chance to create home ice advantage and take some strides in the Central Division. The boys play Thursday in Los Angeles and Saturday in Vancouver.

Both are winnable games.

Happy Howlin’!