2015 NHL Draft Grades: Arizona Coyotes


The Arizona Coyotes are a weird team. Every hockey fan knows that. Even as they were preparing for the draft, news struck down about issues with their arena lease. In the midst of all of that, they even added new uniforms.

Oh, Coyotes.

And then they almost kind-of-not-really wanted to trade the third overall pick, but not unless they could still have Dylan Strome.

Well, they did select Dylan Strome, and it was a good fit, seeing he was the leading scorer in the Ontario Hockey League this past season and the Coyotes were 29th out of 30 teams in NHL scoring.

Strome, Max Domi, and Anthony Duclair could all be on the Coyotes NHL roster in 2014-2015, and while they are young players and unpredictable, they would be projected to bring some high energy and scoring ability that the Coyotes desperately need.

The Coyotes had a second first round pick, the 30th overall, where they got the second best steal of the draft (the best was the New York Islanders trading up to 16th overall to get Mathew Barzal). Kelowna Rockets center Nick Merkley dropped all the way to the end of the first round and the Coyotes were happy to snag him.

Merkley was projected to go around 17th-20th overall, and many expected the Winnipeg Jets would take him right after the Islanders got Merkley. While the Strome pick was great, it also fell in their lap and was obvious. However, the Merkley pick was about as an A+ pick as you could get.

Arizona deserves it, too. They had the second worst record in the NHL and the draft lottery forced them into the third overall pick where they had no shot at Jack Eichel, the ultimate consolation prize to Connor McDavid.

The Coyotes also made two rather decent selections with the second and third round picks. Their second round selection was a forward from the US U-18 team named Christian Fischer. Fischer is a two way forward and he will probably need some development before he can see some NHL time.

The third round pick was another one of their stealthy steals. Kyle Capobianco literally could have been a first round pick if his OHL Sudbury Wolves were not terrible. He’s a defenseman with some scoring ability, but he’s another project as well. But when the Coyotes did so well in the first round, they can afford to do that.

The overall grade for the Arizona Coyotes in this draft was an A+.

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