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GM Armstrong: Keller 'might be the best Coyote ever' when his career ends

Norm Hall / National Hockey League / Getty

Arizona Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong sees a boatload of potential in Clayton Keller.

"Just being around him, (Keller) is a competitor," Armstrong said, per's Amalie Benjamin. "The greatest thing that people don't know about him is that this guy lives and breathes hockey. He's on the ice all summer working on a shot. He's doing all the little things.

"He's one of our best players, and he might be the best Coyote ever, in the end."

Keller enjoyed a career campaign last season, leading the team with 37 goals and 49 assists in 82 contests. His 86 points on the year tied Keith Tkachuk for the most in a single season by a Coyote since the team moved to the desert from Winnipeg in 1996.

That performance is even more impressive given how Keller's 2021-22 season ended. He had to be stretchered off the ice with a broken leg during a contest against the San Jose Sharks on March 30, 2022, and immediately underwent surgery to repair the fracture.

Keller was able to recover in time for the 2022-23 campaign and was named a finalist for this season's Bill Masterton Trophy - which honors perseverance and dedication to hockey - as a result of his efforts.

Now, the talented winger is confident he can be the first Coyote to hit the 100-point mark and the franchise's first player to accomplish the feat since Teemu Selanne in 1992-93 when the team was still in Winnipeg.

"I feel really good, obviously," Keller said. "A full summer of training and skating as opposed to last summer, not much, and a lot of uncertainty going into the season about my health and things like that. I feel great. It's the most excited I've been going into a season."

In order to claim the title as the best Coyote ever, Keller will have to wrestle the mantle away from Shane Doan, who's the team's leader in goals (395), points (955), and games played (1,466) - excluding his debut campaign in Winnipeg when he netted seven goals and 17 points in 74 contests.

At 25 years old, Keller already ranks fifth in goals (133) and points (342) as well as 11th in games played (442) in Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes history.

Keller is entering the fourth season of an eight-year, $57.2-million extension.

The Coyotes' preseason kicks off on Saturday at midnight ET in Australia.

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