For the third straight season and fourth time in the past six, Clayton Keller held the distinction of being the only Arizona Coyotes player to take part in NHL All-Star Weekend. He represented the franchise well, tallying a goal and three assists over two shortened games to help Team Matthews to an All-Star triumph.
But for as satisfying as it is to see Keller hang - and hold his own - with the league's biggest stars, a little variety would be nice. There's no question that Keller has been the All-Star-worthy member of the Coyotes in recent years, but consistently having one representative can seem rather paltry when, at the same event, the Vancouver Canucks had five and the host Toronto Maple Leafs had four. Comparatively, Arizona hasn't had an All-Star other than Keller play in the game since Oliver Ekman-Larsson suited up in 2018 (Darcy Kuemper was selected, but unable to play in 2020).
Eventually, you'd have to think that Keller might have some All-Star company from someone in the Coyotes organization (other than Howler). Let's take a look at who might be next in line to represent the club:
A career year for long-time Coyote Lawson Crouse wasn't enough to earn the 26-year-old a trip to Toronto, but his upward trajectory offers hope. On one hand, the eight-year veteran has already had ample opportunity to demonstrate All-Star form as he nears his 500th game. However, his 19 goals to date demonstrate that he isn't far off the mark. A hot start out of the gate one of these years could ultimately secure his place.
Logan Cooley has been worth the wait for the Coyotes. After dominating the NCAA with the University of Minnesota during his first season after being drafted, the 19-year-old has given fans every reason to believe that he can deliver on the potential that made him the third over-all pick in 2022. He has managed six goals and 25 points despite playing limited and largely sheltered minutes. Those numbers are good enough to rank him eighth on the team and sixth among rookies, surely with more to come as he grows into a larger role.
"All-Star goaltender Connor Ingram" might sound a little far-fetched, but it really shouldn't. Ingram's tandem role in net for Arizona alongside Karel Vejmelka has produced numbers to rival those who participated in Saturday's game. The 26-year-old's .916 save percentage ranks ahead of the likes of Cam Talbot, Sergei Bobrovsky and Jake Oettinger, while his 2.61 goals against average is lower than that of Oettinger, Alexandar Georgiev and Igor Shesterkin. With two years remaining on his contract, there's still time for an Ingram All-Star campaign to take effect.
Nothing against the Keller show we've gotten at the All-Star Game in recent years, but change can sometimes be a good thing. And if a newer Coyote representative could join the 20-goal scorer at the event, then all the better.