The Arizona Coyotes have signed restricted free agent forward Barrett Hayton
to a two-year, $3.5 million contract extension, per Craig Morgan.
Hayton, 22, was selected fifth-overall by the Coyotes in 2018, and after scoring 153 points in 165 OHL games, Hayton has appeared in 94 NHL games, managing 31 points. Arizona thrust Hayton into fairly difficult minutes thus far, and they are not exactly beaming with Grade-A players.
In that difficult role, Hayton has played admirably. Still, Arizona would like to see more dominant play-driving out of the former top-five pick. The idea is to insulate the rest of their team with the top-end talent through the draft, but that will not happen until the latter of the two years for which Hayton is signed.
The Yotes have yet another tough season ahead. Playing out of Arizona State's facility this season, their on-ice product will reflect the state of the team. The Athletic's Shayna Goldman, Dom Luszczyszyn and Sean Gentile ranked Arizona as the worst team heading into 2022-23.
At least they have their young, still-blue-chip asset under team control for another couple of seasons. Hopefully -- for Hayton -- he can carve out a scoring role on Arizona this season and entrench himself as a leader on a barren Coyotes roster.