Arizona Coyotes All Star Going Under the Radar

TEMPE, ARIZONA - JANUARY 24: Clayton Keller #9 of the Arizona Coyotes skates with the puck ahead of Jakob Silfverberg #33 of the Anaheim Ducks during the second period of the NHL game at Mullett Arena on January 24, 2023 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

With the All-Star break right around the corner, the Arizona Coyotes have a player that seems to have been going under the radar. This is none other than Clayton Keller. He was drafted with the seventh overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by the Coyotes. Since putting on a Coyotes jersey, Keller has been a fan favourite in the desert. In the 2021-22 campaign, we saw Keller have his best year yet, having 28 goals and 35 assists for 63 points, which was just two points shy of his career high of 65.

What is making Keller go unnoticed, and what impact has he made with the Coyotes?

Clayton Keller Flying Under The Radar

A Comeback From Scary Injury

On March 30th, 2022, Clayton Keller suffered a scary injury against the San Jose Sharks. That would be the end of the forward’s fifth season in the NHL. Many thought he would not come back to complete form after the injury after having a career year. The doubts continued to pile up as he did not play any preseason games and would be jumping into action right away. Nevertheless, Keller is on track to break his career high in points and looks better than ever.

Being a franchise player like Clayton Keller, he had to work his way back to the top. General manager Bill Armstrong was proud of the offseason work by Keller, saying this-

“I think it’s a process. Whenever that happens and you go through it, just talking to him, it’s just getting comfortable. Everything is healed, it’s just getting back to the timing and the rhythm of the game. He’s made a lot of steps. He worked extremely hard this summer to get back and have a chance to play for opening night. That’s his biggest goal is to get back and he’s done a good job. You never know with those injuries. It was a tough injury for him to go through and when you’re a young guy, and you experience your first major injury, it’s all mental. He worked extremely hard and I’m really proud of the progress that he made. Since returning, Keller has looked like himself and is on pace for a career year.”

Third All-Star Appearance For Clayton Keller

With the Coyotes in another rebuilding year and having their eyes set on Conor Bedard, Keller has been one of the few bright spots on the team. So far, Keller has 18 goals, adding 23 assists for 41 points. Keller has shown he is capable of doing more each night by scoring two hat tricks for the team this year. Keller has been doing it all for the Coyotes, leading almost every offensive category and providing a veteran presence.

This year’s All-Star game will be held at FLA Live Arena, the home of the Florida Panthers. Clayton Keller was happy to hear he would be heading to Florida on February 4th. “It means a lot,” Keller said. “Coming into this year I didn’t really know what to expect. With the rehab and stuff like that, it was great to recover fast. Everyone made it easy on me coming back and allowed me to get my legs back and feel good again.”

What the Future Holds

The future is nothing but bright for the Coyotes and Clayton Keller. With Keller signed in the desert throughout 2028, he won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, as he has established himself as a franchise player. Furthermore, he has put his name in the conversation to be named captain of this young Coyotes team. If that does happen, that would be not only tremendous for Keller but for the team too. They haven’t had one since Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who got traded to the Vancouver Canucks a year and a half ago. Clayton Keller will look to top his rookie year, where he scored 23 goals and added 42 assists, as he is on pace for 30 goals and 38 assists.

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