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March Madness: Coyotes prospects prepared for postseason in United States, Canada, Europe

Craig Morgan Avatar
March 23, 2023

The postseason is in full flower for college basketball, but for many Coyotes prospects, March Madness is just beginning.

At least 17 players in Arizona’s pipeline have just started their postseason, or will in the coming days. This is the time of year that the management, scouting and development staffs love because it allows them to evaluate their prospects when the chips are down and the stakes are high. High-pressure situations can provide a glimpse into what these players will do at the NHL level.

If you want to keep tabs on who is competing where, we have compiled a list of Coyotes prospects involved in their respective leagues’ postseasons. For purposes of this story, we excluded the AHL, which won’t begin its playoffs for about a month, and the USHL, whose postseason begins in late April.

Some players such as Wisconsin’s Carson Bantle, Clarkson’s Anthony Romano and Mikkelin Jukurit’s (Finnish Liiga) Liam Kirk did not make the postseason. Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk’s Ilya Fedotov (on loan) was injured and did not play in the playoffs. Alexander Daryin’s Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod team was eliminated by SKA Saint Petersburg in the KHL conference semifinals on Wednesday. Danil Savunov and SKA-Neva St. Petersburg lost in the first round of the VHL (Russia) playoffs. Artyom Duda’s Krasnaya Armiya Moskva was eliminated in the MHL playoffs. And Emil Martinsen Lilleberg and IK Oskarshamn lost in the qualifying round of the SHL playoffs.

I hope I have not forgotten anyone and in some cases, the results tables for leagues are hard to discern, but here’s my list with a major assist from Coyotes director of player development, Lee Stempniak.

NCAA Coyotes prospects

C Logan Cooley
Draft history: 2022 first round (No. 3 overall)
Team: Minnesota
Postseason: NCAA Tournament
First game: Thursday vs. Canisius in the Fargo Regional
Note: Cooley’s Golden Gophers are the top overall seed after capturing the Big Ten regular season title.

D Cal Thomas
Draft history: 2021 sixth round round (No. 171)
Team: Minnesota
Postseason: NCAA Tournament
First game: Thursday vs. Canisius in the Fargo Regional
Note: I checked in on Thomas in December in the Coyotes prospect report.

C John Farinacci
Draft history: 2019 third round (No. 76)
Team: Harvard
Postseason: NCAA Tournament
First game: Friday vs. Ohio State in the Bridgeport Regional
Note: Farinacci will not use his final year of college eligibility. He intends to turn pro when Harvard’s season ends.

F Sam Lipkin
Draft history: 2021 seventh round (No. 223)
Team: Quinnipiac
Postseason: NCAA Tournament
First game: Friday vs. Merrimack in the Bridgeport Regional
Note: Lipkin was named ECAC Rookie of the Year with 12 goals and 35 points in 35 games.

CHL prospects

C Conor Geekie
Draft history: 2022 first round (No. 11)
Team: Winnipeg Ice
Postseason: Western Hockey League (CHL)
First game: Likely March 31, opponent TBD
Note: Geekie’s team stands a good chance of meeting Dylan Guenther’s team in the WHL final, with a berth in the Memorial Cup hanging in the balance.

F Dylan Guenther
Draft history: 2021 first round (No. 9)
Team: Seattle Thunderbirds
Postseason: Western Hockey League (CHL)
First game: Likely March 31, opponent TBD
Note: Guenther has 11 goals and 26 points in 18 games since returning to the WHL.

D Maveric Lamoureux
Draft history: 2022 first round (No. 29)
Team: Drummondville Voltigeurs
Postseason: Québec Major Junior Hockey League (CHL)
First game: Late March, opponent TBD
Note: I checked in on Lamoureux in the January edition of the Coyotes prospect report.

F Manix Landry
Draft history: 2021 fifth round (No. 139)
Team: Drummondville Voltigeurs
Postseason: Québec Major Junior Hockey League (CHL)
First game: Late March, opponent TBD
Note: Gatineau traded Landry to Drummondville earlier this season.

D Jérémy Langlois
Draft history: 2022 third round (No. 94)
Team: Québec Remparts
Postseason: Québec Major Junior Hockey League (CHL)
First game: Late March, opponent TBD
Note: I caught up with Langlois in the February edition of the Coyotes prospect report.

G Anson Thornton
Draft history: Undrafted
Team: Barrie Colts
Postseason: Ontario Hockey League (CHL)
First game: Likely March 29, opponent TBD
Note: The Coyotes signed Thornton to a three-year entry-level deal after an impressive showing at camp in 2021.

European Coyotes prospects

F Julian Lutz
Draft history: 2022 second round (No. 43)
Team: EHC München
Postseason: Deutsche Eishockey Liga (Germany)
Playoff update: Munich is tied with Fischtown, 2-2, in the DEL quarterfinals.
Note: I wrote a feature on Lutz at the start of the season.

D Maksymilian Szuber
Draft history: 2022 sixth round (No. 163)
Team: EHC München
Postseason: Deutsche Eishockey Liga (Germany)
Playoff update: Munich is tied with Fischtown, 2-2, in the DEL quarterfinals.
Note: I wrote about Szuber in the November edition of the Coyotes prospect report.

G Rasmus Korhonen
Draft history: 2021 fourth round (No. 122)
Team: Assat Pori
Postseason: SM-Liiga (Finland)
Playoff update: Pori trails Tampereen Ilves and Aku Räty, 2-1, in the quarterfinals of the SM-Liiga playoffs.
Note: Korhonen is one of three notable goaltending prospects in the Coyotes system along with Tucson’s Ivan Prosvetov and Barrie’s Anson Thornton.

F Aku Räty
Draft history: 2019 fifth round (No. 151)
Team: Tampereen Ilves
Postseason: SM-Liiga (Finland)
Playoff update: Tampere leads Pori and Rasmus Korhonen, 2-1, in the quarterfinals of the SM-Liiga playoffs.
Note: Räty had 18 goals and 42 points in 53 games this season. The Coyotes’ rights to Räty expire on June 1. Decision time looms.

D Axel Bergkvist
Draft history: 2019 seventh round (No. 200)
Team: Farjestads BK Karlstad
Postseason: Swedish Hockey League
Playoff update: Karlstad leads Frölunda (Gothenburg), 2-1, in the SHL quarterfinals.

F Valentin Nussbaumer
Draft history: 2019 seventh round (No. 207)
Team: Davos HC
Postseason: National League (Switzerland)
Playoff update: Zurich leads Davos, 2-1, in the quarterfinals of the Swiss League

F Elliot Ekefjärd (injured)
Draft history: 2020 seventh round (No. 192)
Team: IF Björklöven
Postseason: HockeyAllsvenskan
Playoff update: Björklöven (Umeå) leads Västerås, 2-1, in the HockeyAllsvenskan quarterfinals.

Top photo of Minnesota’s Logan Cooley, Winnipeg’s Conor Geekie and Tampere’s Aku Räty via Getty Images. Illustration by PHNX Sports’ Shawn DePaz

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