It was nothing short of some turbulent couple weeks leading up to the 2017 NHL entry draft for the Coyotes. Here’s a brief rundown of what happened:
Andrew Barroway bought out the team’s minority owners, becoming the Coyotes sole owner.
Shane Doan, long time Yote and face of the franchise was told he will not be re-signed.
They have gone through the expansion and entry draft without an official president of hockey operations.
Starting goalie Mike Smith was shipped to Calgary for a draft pick and prospect Brandon Hickey.
On June 22, roughly a year after the Coyotes handed him a five-year contract extension and additional front office duties, they parted ways with Coach Dave Tippett.
Popular young defenseman Connor Murphy and prospect Laurent Dauphin were dealt to Chicago for veteran blueliner Niklas Hjalmarsson.
Finally, they traded the seventh overall pick in the ‘17 draft and prospect Anthony DeAngelo to the Rangers for a potential number one center and goalie in the form of Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta.
Whew…. Well I guess this was better than the usual chatter about the team being moved.
The Coyotes are loaded with excellent prospects, so dealing the seventh overall pick wasn’t a huge blow. Plus they still possessed a first-round pick acquired from Minnesota in what has to be now considered highway robbery in the Martin Hanzal deal at the trade deadline.
23rd overall, Pierre-Olivier Joseph
Joseph went into the draft rated 27th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting but many scouts considered him to have much higher potential than that. He’s a smooth skating, two-way defenseman with strong offensive instincts. P.O. as Joseph oddly likes to be called, models his game after Marc-Edouard Vlasic, but bulking up will be key for him to star in the NHL like Vlasic, he’s currently at 6-2 and 163 pounds. “P.O. is a guy our staff was extremely passionate about so any time you receive a player you’re passionate about, it’s a good day,” Coyotes General Manager John Chayka was said shortly after selecting Joseph. “He’s a guy who has unlimited upside. I think the sky’s the limit, and the ceiling’s as high as anybody. That’s what we’re looking for at that pick.”
Arizona moved the 35th pick to Philadelphia in exchange for Nos. 44,75 and 108, a deal that gave them two more picks-including a fourth-rounder, which they didn’t previously have. The Coyotes also received the 82nd and 126th selections from Edmonton in exchange for the 78th pick.
44rd overall, Filip Westerlund
The Coyotes grabbed Westerlund in the second-round, another two-way defenseman who’s a little bit of the small size. His biggest strength is hockey sense, he’s a smart puck-mover, really calm on the backend. “He’s a really smooth, poised, six-foot defenseman, which is kind of today’s style of defenseman, said Tim Bernhardt, the Coyotes Director of Amateur Scouting. “We don’t see him as a huge point producer, but he’s a real good puck mover.” Some scouts compared Westerlund to fellow Swede Anton Stralman, and if he turns out even close to that this would excellent choice for the Yotes.
69th overall, Mackenzie Entwistle
Some scouts considered the Coyotes getting Entwistle at 69th overall an absolute “steal”. He racked up 12 goals and 25 points in 54 games for Hamilton of the OHL last season, missing some time with mononucleosis. Entwistle has good size at 6-3 and can play center and wing. He’s a hard worker, who’s considered a safe pick who will contribute in a defined role, most likely a third or fourth-line type player at the NHL level.
75th overall, Nate Schnarr
A two-way center, Schnarr put up 18 goals and 36 points for the Guelph Storm in 2016-17. He models his game after Jet Mark Schiefele, but seems to project as more of a bottom-six center at the next level. Going into the 2017-18 season, Schnarr hopes to expand his offensive repertoire, which includes power play time and being able to suit up in any situation, but considers the defensive side of the puck his strong point.
82nd overall, Cameron Crotty
A defenseman, Crotty put up four goals and 13 points in 41 games with Brockville of the Central Canada Hockey League. He plays with a mobile style and would like to hone his offensive instincts so he can become more of a two-way specialist. Crotty is committed to play at Boston University this coming season. He has good size (6-3) and is an excellent skater but saw his point totals drop last season in Junior A as Crotty struggled at the beginning of the campaign with a shoulder injury. Keep an eye on him this coming season at BU, Crotty could be a sleeper.
108th overall, Noel Hoefenmayer
Another defenseman, Hoefenmayer put together a strong offensive season for Ottawa in the OHL, leading his team’s blueliners with 40 points (14 goals, 26 assists) in 62 games. His strengths are moving the puck up the ice and his shot. While his weaknesses are play in his own end and skating. “We think that with some skating development he was a real good value in the fourth round,” said Bernhardt. “He really pushes the play and pushes the envelope offensively”.
126th overall, Michael Karow
The Coyotes really loaded up on defenseman in this draft and Karow is another one, he had four goals and 21 points in 58 games with Youngstown of the USHL. He’s committed to Boston College this coming season and is considered a defensive defenseman with good mobility and size (6-2, 194lbs).
128th overall, Tyler Steenbergen
Finally, not a defenseman or defensive forward, Steenbergen is a center and a scoring one at that. He had 51 goals and 90 points in 72 games with Swift Current in the WHL last season. Steenbergen is a year older than the other Coyotes picks as this is his second go around at the entry draft, not being picked last year. His 51 goals tied for the league lead and doubled what he put up the season before. The challenges for him going forward are to a certain extent his size (5-10), and to a larger extent his ability to build upon his huge 2016-17 season. Can he create offense at even strength? Can he maintain his shooting percentage? Can he round out his game with a bit more attention to defensive side of the game? I personally really like this pick and from a fantasy standpoint, Steenbergen could definitely be a sleeper.
190th overall, Erik Walli Walterholm
A winger, Walterholm was the Coyotes final selection of the 2017 Draft and by far had the best name. Obviously in the seventh round you’re no longer drafting stars and Walterholm is a long shot. “He’s a project,” Bernhardt said. “He’s really a skinny kid at this stage, but he’s got a frame to fill out. He’s good sized, he just needs to fill out. He’s a winger with some talent.”
All together the Coyotes selected nine players at the 2017 NHL entry draft-four forwards and five defenseman.
The Coyotes held their Development Camp June 26th to June 30th. It was weird having the camp almost right after the draft this year but I guess get the new guys out there and let them see what being a Coyote is all about right away. Some standouts of the camp were: Clayton Keller (if this surprises you, you’ve probably been living under a rock for the past year), Dylan Strome, Nick Merkley, Cam Dineen and Jalen Smereck. Don’t sleep on this Smereck kid, he’s been real impressive so far, the more I see him the more I like him.
The Coyotes don’t expect to make any more moves going forward. They did sign Adam Clendening on July 1st but probably won’t be to active signing mostly depth positions. So that means Keller, Strome, Brendan Perlini and Christian Fischer should have solid roles with the team in 2017-18.
Thanks for reading and enjoy the summer.