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NHL Fantasy: 2 Arizona Coyotes that can end up being steals

© Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Because of the 2023-24 NHL regular season beginning on Oct. 10, there is less than a week left before fantasy hockey leagues are locked in and no more time to draft your teams.

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With the Arizona Coyotes, the potential with how the team fairs this season is a lot better than the recent past.

Rookie Logan Cooley, veteran winger Jason Zucker and defenseman Sean Durzi are just some of the new faces to the Coyotes lineup that could end up helping them compete for a possible playoff spot.

But with players rising and falling on draft boards, there are some sneaky players that can be great value in their average selected position.

With Yahoo Sports’ fantasy leagues, the daily starting lineup consists of two centers, two left wings, two right wings, two goalies and four defenseman.

For the bench, there are four spots available that can be filled by any position on Yahoo.

As for ESPN, there are nine forwards and five defensive slots, two goalies and a utility spot for an extra forward or defenseman in the starting lineup.

Five bench spots available on ESPN.

Here are two Coyotes that can be undercover steals for the upcoming 2023-24 season:

Nick Schmaltz

The definition of being a great value selection in fantasy hockey has to be a player like Coyotes right winger Nick Schmaltz.

With an average drafted position of 174.7 on Yahoo and ranked as the #222 best player on ESPN, people who are in deep leagues with 12-16 league teams could find a gem with Schmaltz.

Heck, even drafting him as one of the last players in a 10 team league is good value as well.

Last season, Schmaltz scored 22 goals and 36 assists in 63 games as he was on the top line with Coyotes star Clayton Keller.

In the 2021-22 campaign, he had one more goal with 23 and had exactly 36 assists in 63 games, so it shows Schmaltz is a consistent offensive producer.

On Yahoo, Schmaltz could be even more valuable as he can be deployable as a center or winger since they gave him dual-eligibility to fill in either slot.

However, if you are in a league that counts hits and blocks, don’t expect Schmaltz to put up massive points in those categories.

Besides his first season in the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2016-17, Schmaltz has yet to hit more than 20 times in a single year.

As for blocks, a modest 28 blocks in each of Schmaltz’s last two campaigns is decent as a forward, but not anything special.

He has been consistent when he does play, but Schmaltz has yet to suit up for a full 82-game season so far in his 7-year career.

If he were to play a full year, it is possible that Schmaltz could reach 70+ points this season, but that’s a big if.

As long as Schmaltz stays on the first-line, drafting him late could pay dividends throughout the year and in fantasy playoffs.

Matt Dumba

After signing a 1-year deal in Arizona, somebody that is not even on most fantasy radars is defenseman Matt Dumba.

Both ESPN and Yahoo don’t even have Dumba ranked as a top 300 player in the NHL.

Yahoo has listed Dumba as the 614th best player available and ESPN ranked him as the 125th best defenseman.

Even in 16 team leagues, Dumba may go un-drafted because of where he is positioned by the fantasy websites.

That is way too low for somebody who has play an average of over 20 minutes a game since 2016-17 and should slide into a similar role with Arizona.

Add on top of the fact that the former Minnesota Wild player blocked 116 shots last year, which was a career high.

104 hits shouldn’t go without recognition either, but the reason why his stock is plummeting is because Dumba had a offensively-quiet year last campaign.

Ever since the 2018-19 season where he scored 12 goals, Dumba hasn’t had a season with goals in the double-digits with his last highest being 7 goals two years ago.

What also is impacting his draft position in fantasy is that Dumba only had 14 points last year, his second worst total since his rookie year in 2013-14.

Was last year a down season for Dumba?

Yes and no.

While his offensive output has plummeted way down, Dumba’s impact on the defensive side could help those in leagues that counts hits and blocks.

If you are in leagues that don’t have those two categories, however, stay way far away from Dumba in a fantasy draft.

This Coyote is due for a Breakout

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Alec Cipollini is a journalist covering the Arizona Coyotes and Phoenix Rising for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on his new X account @AlecCipollini

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