Struggling Avalanche, Coyotes stuck at bottom of standings

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Neither the Arizona Coyotes nor the Colorado Avalanche will remember the 2016-17 season fondly. Entering Monday's meeting at Gila River Arena, the Avalanche and Coyotes held the worst and second-worst records in the league, respectively.

While the Avalanche have little help coming from a farm system that most scouting sites rank among the worst in the league, the Coyotes are seeing growth from a host of rookies this season, with another crop on the way next season in forwards Clayton Keller, Dylan Strome and Christian Fischer.

Coyotes rookies have accounted for 86 points this season, the second-highest total in the NHL behind Toronto's ridiculous 249 rookie points.

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Arizona got six points from rookies in a 5-4 win over New Jersey on Saturday: a goal and two assists from defenseman Jakob Chychrun, a goal and an assist from defenseman Anthony DeAngelo and a goal from Brendan Perlini, whose .29 goals per game represents the fifth-highest average among rookies behind Winnipeg's Patrik Laine, Toronto's Auston Matthews, Carolina's Sebastian Aho and Pittsburgh's Jake Guentzel.

Chychrun's six goals are tied for second among NHL rookie defensemen. Only two NHL rookies (Laine, Matthews) have scored more goals than Coyotes rookie center Christian Dvorak since Feb. 2.

"When you look at (Saturday) night's game, our talent level is continuing to grow and, in my opinion, it's going to be at an all-time high here in a little while," Coyotes general manager John Chayka said. "Talent alone doesn't win you games. It's how they come together and support each other. But at the same time, it's an important component of success in the NHL and I don't think we have had enough of it in the past."

With right winger Mikko Rantanen already on the NHL club and University of North Dakota center Tyson Jost the only highly-rated prospect in the system, the Avalanche are facing a significant rebuild, especially if they trade center Matt Duchene this summer as multiple outlets have reported they hope to do.

Duchene, who scored 30 goals last season, has no points in his last 10 games and has one goal and eight assists in his past 24 games. He was demoted to the third line between Carl Soderberg and Joe Colborne for Saturday's loss to Ottawa.

"I'm not going to give you much on this. I can't right now," Duchene told the Denver Post. "This is crazy. Know what? I'm going to keep working, be a good team guy. I've been here before. I can work out of it. That's the way things have gone this year."

The Coyotes and Avs were off Sunday.

Arizona defenseman Kevin Connauton (upper body) and center Alexander Burmistrov (concussion) are listed as day to day. Center Brad Richardson (broken right tibia and fibula) is on injured reserve but has resumed skating and could return to full practice soon.

For the Avalanche, goalie Semyon Varlamov (groin) and defenseman Nikita Zadorov (broken ankle) are out for the season.

Calvin Pickard is expected to start in goal for Colorado. Mike Smith is expected to start for Arizona.