One of the biggest story lines of the NHL off-season has been how many of the league's great young stars who are currently restricted free agents have not signed new deals. Led by Mitch Marner's impasse with the Toronto Maple Leafs we have yet to get the signings of Brayden Point in Tampa, Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor in Winnipeg & Mikko Rantanen in Colorado.
The Coyotes will not have that same impasse with their young all-star in Clayton Keller. The Arizona Coyotes signed the winger to an eight year contract with an average annual value of $7.15 Million that will keep him in Arizona though the 2027-2028 season when Keller will be 29.
The deal slots Keller in right among several other players coming out of their entry-level deals. Earlier this off season Sebastin Aho signed a five year deal with the Hurricanes that will pay him over $8 Million a year. Last season William Nylander stayed in Toronto for six years at just under $7 Million annually. Seeing those numbers it makes total sense to slot Keller in where he did considering the length would keep him in Arizona in his prime with a deal he signed at 21. If Keller can continue to develop and prove that his sophomore season was just an anomaly we could be calling this contract a steal in four years. The best comparison to make here is the extension Paul Goldschmidt signed with the Diamondbacks in 2014, by the end of that deal Goldy was making pennies compared to what his production was.
The Coyotes have made a point to pay their young players recently. Christian Dvorak, Jakob Chychrun, Nick Schmaltz and Captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson have all signed up long-term over the last year-plus.
The Coyotes under the leadership of John Chayka, Rick Tocchet and now owner Alex Meruelo have proven they have a plan in place to win. Now they just need to execute on the ice.