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2023 Fantasy Hockey Breakout Candidates: Arizona Coyotes

The next team in the 2023 Fantasy Hockey Breakout Candidates series is the Arizona Coyotes. This is a much different team than we are used to this season. Instead of taking on bad contracts and expecting to lose, they are trying to win. They have loaded up on enough talented young players and the turning point is this season. Some players have already shown they can lead this team to success, while others are on their way or have arrived.

While the Coyotes have been an afterthought and maybe only held a few relevant players for fantasy hockey in the past, that is different now. There are not only sure things, there are sleepers and fantasy hockey breakout candidates too. This will be an interesting team to watch this season to see how the offseason change pays off. Now let’s dive into the breakout candidates for the 2023-24 season.

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Arizona Coyotes Fantasy Hockey Breakouts for 2023-24

Sean Durzi

Sean Durzi was a casualty of the deep defense group of the Los Angeles Kings. He was forced to learn to play the other side, but also slid down the lineup and didn’t get enough playing time. That is all about to change as the Coyotes saw a great deal of talent in a limited role and brought him in. He will line up in the top-four and he has the highest offensive upside of all the defensemen on the team. That will serve him well, but it will also serve fantasy owners who take a chance on him well.

Durzi logged over 150 minutes on the power play in each of his first two seasons. In those seasons he only played 64 and 72 games while being stuck behind Drew Doughty as well. Durzi is stuck behind nobody now as he will have to compete with Juuso Valimaki and J.J. Moser but might have the upper hand. There’s no veteran standing in his way. Durzi put up 38 points last season while logging under 20 minutes a night. He also recorded 16 power-play points. Along with his impact defensively, 45 points, power-play points, and all-around numbers should make him a great pickup in fantasy hockey this season.

Barrett Hayton

The Coyotes have some very young and talented centermen, but Barrett Hayton appears to be the go-to option for the first line this season once again. He wasn’t there in a full-time role in 2022-23, but the team’s other option is rookie Logan Cooley who has zero games of NHL experience. In his second full season in the NHL, he had a jump of nine goals and 19 points. The 23-year-old is just getting started.

Related: 2023 Fantasy Hockey Breakout Candidates: Tampa Bay Lightning

Alongside Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz, Hayton has had an immense boost in numbers, and understandably so. The line played less than 500 minutes together last season at five-on-five but outscored their opponents 32 to 22. For that little time together, that many goals is impressive in its own right. The Coyotes were one of the first to have a large analytics department, so they are fully aware that when Hayton didn’t play with either Keller or Schmaltz, his line was outscored 9 to 23. Even Keller and Schmaltz were outscored 14 to 19 without Hayton. All signs point to this line sticking together and dominating even more this season.

Connor Ingram

The Coyotes have a very underrated goalie tandem. I wouldn’t label either of Karel Vejmelka or Connor Ingram as elite, but they did a strong job last season with little help. Vejmelka will be the goalie many fantasy owners target first. But, Ingram has the potential to have a large impact. Comparing the two, Ingram had better numbers last season but played less. This season might be a little different in that regard.

Ingram was just a rookie, but he proved himself with a .907 SV%. Vejmelka only had a .899 SV%. Ingram might have gone 6-13-8, but he had a highly quality start percentage and above-average goals saved above average. That is an unlucky record for the solid numbers he put up. The Coyotes have a decent team this season that will be able to win. Ingram will not only get more playing time, he’ll win more and push for the starting job. He is an underrated third goalie to have on your fantasy hockey team.

The Coyotes are finally a team to look at and roster players from. They have impactful players in all positions and are a young team set to break out. Don’t underestimate this team and definitely think about targeting a breakout candidate. Having players who outperform expectations is what will separate you from the pack.

Make sure to check out all of the sleepers and breakouts of the 2023 fantasy hockey season!

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