Coyotes Prospect Watch: Team legend’s son looks to make his mark

Northeast Valley News’ hockey reporters continue their look at the Arizona Coyotes’ prospect pipeline



Young players will be fighting to stake their claim in the Coyotes’ future during the 2021/22 season.

In part one of NEVN’s two-part Arizona Coyotes prospect series, James and Sarah covered five of the top 10 prospects to watch.

Rounding out this top 10 are forwards Josh Doan, Samuel Lipkin, and Liam Kirk, as well as defenseman Vladislav Provolnev and goaltender Karel Vejmelka.

Josh Doan is a right winger whom the Coyotes drafted in the second round earlier this year. The 19-year-old played for the USHL’s Chicago Steel for two seasons, where he collected 84 points across 98 games, with 36 goals and 48 assists.

Josh is the son of the Coyotes legend and longtime captain Shane Doan, and he is currently playing for head coach Greg Powers at Arizona State University. Despite his father’s history in the Valley, the younger Doan showcases a different playing style than his dad. He is a natural playmaker who puts the puck on net to generate chances.

Sam Lipkin, one of Josh’s teammates with the Steel, also made his way to the Coyotes in the Entry Draft. Lipkin is a 6-foot-3-inch left winger who recorded 11 points in his first full season there, posting three goals and eight assists.

Lipkin is playing his third season in the USHL before shipping off to play collegiately at Quinnipiac University. Lipkin will be one to watch in the Coyotes’ system, as he has a strong shot and chemistry with Josh Doan.

Liam Kirk was a seventh-round pick in 2018. The English forward played 110 games with the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League, where he was an alternate captain and landed 97 points with 47 goals and 50 assists. Kirk is a sharp, intriguing player, and one who will be a staple in the Tucson Roadrunners’ lineup in 2021/22.

Another 6-foot-3-inch prospect in the Arizona system is defenseman Vladislav Provolnev, a Russian prospect out of Severstal Cherepovets in the Kontinental Hockey League. Provolnev appeared in 93 games over two seasons there, across which he tallied 28 points with 15 goals and 13 assists. He is a six-season KHL veteran overall.

Provolnev is strong with a big frame, and he can apply a lot of pressure to opposing puck-carriers. He is expected to start this season in Tucson.

Rounding out our top 10 list is goaltender Karel Vejmelka. The 6-foot-4-inch, right-handed-catching goalie has played in the Czech leagues since for a decade, and he signed with the Coyotes in May — six years after the franchise selected him in the fifth round of the 2015 Draft.

Vejmelka carries himself well in the net and has a strong presence in the crease. He is able to track the puck as plays develop toward his end of the ice, with good statistics to prove it.

Across eight seasons in the Czech Republic, he has posted a cumulative 2.56 goals against average, with a combined .913 save percentage and a 77-84-0 record. Though he appeared slated to play for the Rapid City Rush in the East Coast League, he is yet to be assigned, and could play for Tucson in the American Hockey League.

The Coyotes finish out the preseason with games against the Los Angeles Kings and the Vegas Golden Knights, before a weeklong break. The regular season begins on Oct. 14 in Columbus.

The Roadrunners play a back-to-back with the Stockton Heat on Oct. 15 and 16 to begin their season.