As I expected, the Coyotes drafted Dylan Strome third overall. As we got closer to the draft the rumors of trades started to fly. I didn’t see Maloney taking any of the offers I saw floating around. He wanted a big name, top line center and the players in mot of the rumors did not fit the bill.
With their slew of draft picks, the Coyotes were able to trade one pick for two and end up with nine total picks. They had two in the first, one in the second, four in round three, one in round five, and one in round seven. Whew, that is a lot. That works out to six forwards (Strome being the lone center), one defenseman, and two goalies.
There is speculation of Strome making the Coyotes this season. Strome will need to put on a few pounds to compete with pacific division centers like Getzlaf and Kopitar. He has also started to work with a skating coach to improve on his area of weakness. I honestly don’t know if he will make the team at this point. It will depend on how he performs at camp and what other moves the Coyotes make this summer.
The other forwards selected by the Coyotes include Nick Merkley (right wing), Christian Fischer (right wing), Brendan Warran (left wing), Jens Looke (right wing), and Conor Garland (right wing). Maloney was surprised to still have Merkley available at 30; he was expected to go 14th or so. At 5’10, Merkley is on the smaller side. His height could be his biggest challenge in the NHL. I would expect to see Merkley in the NHL next season.
Christian Fischer is a power forward and will be playing at Notre Dame this fall. Fischer has ties to the valley; he was teammates with Auston Matthews. Matthews is from Scottsdale and expected to be the top pick in next summer’s draft. He also is a friend and teammate to Matthew Tkachuk, son of Keith.
Warren is an excellent skater but lacks in playmaking ability. His other downfall is committed to Michigan. (On Wisconsin!). Warren his a big guy and is willing to use his size to work the boards. Jens Looke, on the other hand, has good hands and can enter the zone to make plays. His downfall may be the fact that he is always looking for the perfect pass, which can lead to turnovers. Conor Garland rounds out the forward picks. He is small but fast and good with his hands. At 5’9 (giving him the benefit of the doubt), he has a challenge ahead of him to break into the NHL. He is fast and has a high hockey IQ, but his small size may hold him back.
On defense, we took Kyle Capobianco. Capobianco also has ties to the Coyotes and the valley. His uncle is the owner of local hockey store Behind the Mask. Capobianco is a solid two-way defenseman who ended last season with 10 goals and 30 assists. He lead the team in assists and came in second in points. Capobianco will probably need to add some mass to his 6’1 frame. He is 179, which is kind of small for 6’1.
For goalies, the Coyote selected Adin Hill and Erik Kallgren. The Coyotes continue to go after big goalies with Hill. He is 6’3 and 198 pounds. Hill went 31-11-1-0 with a .921 save percentage, a 2.81 goals against average, and two shutouts in 2014-2015. Kallgren had a 1.75 GAA and .936 save percentage in 34 games. He is listed as 5’11 so he might be a little small for the Coyotes. There really isn’t a lot of information out there for Kallgren.
I think the Coyotes picked up a lot of good players this draft. I also feel we will be much more competitive in two to three years when all these players have their NHL legs under them. We have a lot to look forward to.