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POSTED ON Friday, 06.27.2014 / 2:04 PM


EDITOR'S NOTE: Dave Vest of ArizonaCoyotes.com sets the table for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft in Philadelphia.

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POSTED ON Friday, 06.27.2014 / 1:58 PM


EDITOR'S NOTE: Coyotes Director of Amateur Scouting Tim Bernhardt answers questions just hours before the start of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft in Philadelphia.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 06.26.2014 / 10:45 PM

PHILADELPHIA -- With no obvious No. 1 overall pick, the 2014 NHL Draft promises to be a fascinating one.

And with eight total picks, including No. 12 overall and three of the first 58, the Coyotes can’t wait for the curtain to rise at Wells Fargo Center on Friday night.

Only five teams – Dallas, Los Angeles, the N.Y. Islanders, St. Louis and Washington – will enter the weekend with more picks than the Coyotes at this draft; each have nine.

Round No. 1 is Friday (4 p.m. AZ time on NBC Sports Network) with Rounds Nos. 2-7 set for Saturday (7 a.m. AZ time on NHL Network).

The Coyotes currently own the following picks: Nos. 12, 43, 58, 73, 133, 163, 191, and 193.

Tim Bernhardt, whom the Coyotes announced as the team’s new Director of Amateur Scouting on June 19, says the scouting staff is prepared for the hectic weekend and has its eyes on two or three players it believes will still be available when the Coyotes pick 12th overall on Friday.

Experts are predicting lots of wheeling and dealing before and likely during the first round, and Bernhardt said the Coyotes would be ready.

“We're well prepared," Bernhardt said. "We've gone through many situations ... and hopefully everything falls where we want it to fall and we can go from there.”

General Manager Don Maloney has said because the talent in the first round of the draft is so comparable after the elite prospects will be chosen with the first four or five picks, the Coyotes can be very flexible with the No. 12 selection. He has suggested the team would seriously consider moving down as low as No. 20 if the right offer comes along for No. 12.

“From No. 5 down to No. 20 there are real good players there,” Maloney said.

Barring a trade, this year marks the second consecutive year the Coyotes will pick 12th overall in the Draft. Last year, the team selected forward Max Domi 12th overall.

Bernhardt, who spent 14 years as Director of Amateur Scouting for the Dallas Stars from 1998-2011, is known for his track record in the later rounds of the draft. For example, the Stars selected Coyotes goalie Mike Smith and current Stars captain Jamie Benn in the fifth rounds of their respective drafts on Bernhardt’s watch.

“The key is to try to work through seven rounds of the draft because there are players there and you just have to find them,” Bernhardt said.

Maloney was asked if the Coyotes’ draft philosophy is one of drafting by positional need or by taking the best player available, regardless of position.

His response: “Because we’re dealing with players who are 17, 18, maybe 19 years old, you go for the best talent. You’re looking at least a three- to four-year development period. If there is a present need factor, that normally does not enter into the immediate selection process.”

He added, the Coyotes covet young players who are fast.

“We need more speed into our lineup,” Maloney said. “You start looking around at the teams we’re playing against all the time, and speed is vital.”

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 06.25.2014 / 9:12 PM


EDITOR'S NOTE: Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney chats with broadcaster Matt McConnell about new Director of Amateur Scouting Tim Bernhardt.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 06.25.2014 / 8:56 PM

PHILADELPHIA -- The date circled on the calendar a year ago, the one that for months and months looked so far away, finally is within sight.

The first round of the 2014 NHL Draft on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS) is less than 48 hours away, and the reality of the moment has begun to set in for some of the top prospects.

"I think it's definitely starting to sink in now that I'm here with all the guys now," Kingston Frontenacs center Samuel Bennett told NHL.com. "You definitely can feel the buzz of the draft in the city. It's definitely coming close."

Bennett was one of six top prospects to tour Philadelphia on Wednesday, along with Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad, Kootenay Ice center Sam Reinhart, Prince Albert Raiders center Leon Draisaitl, Oshawa Generals left wing Michael Dal Colle and Sarnia Sting defenseman Anthony DeAngelo.

Their first stop of the day was the Philadelphia Art Museum for pictures with the famed Rocky statue. The prospects even recreated part of Rocky's famed run up the art museum's steps from the film "Rocky II."

"Everyone says this is the most important thing to see in Philadelphia," Reinhart told NHL.com.

From there it was a trip to Love Park for photos, and then cheesesteaks for lunch at Geno's Steaks. The prospects were inducted into a Philadelphia culinary tradition, learning to order their sandwiches "wit wiz" -- local slang for cheese whiz -- or "wit out."

All six players ate well and signed the restaurant's guest book. Reinhart even took a turn at the grill, cooking meat for a few sandwiches.

After a stop at the Betsy Ross House for a tour and a bit of an American history lesson, the players went to Citizens Bank Park for some hitting with Phillies broadcaster Matt Stairs, a former major leaguer and proud native of St. John, New Brunswick.

"It was a lot harder than I thought it would be off the tee," Ekblad said. "I got a couple, some good consistency up the middle for a bit."

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 06.25.2014 / 12:08 PM


EDITOR'S NOTE: Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney chats with broadcaster Matt McConnell about the importance of the annual NHL Draft.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 06.25.2014 / 12:00 PM

PHILADELPHIA -- The 2014 NHL Draft will be a great opportunity for teams to shore up positions of need with an injection of energetic, young talent.

As the first round of the draft draws near, there's no better time to take a glimpse at the possible draft needs of all 30 NHL teams.

While there still may be trades and surprises in the works leading up to the draft, which will be held June 27-28 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, the priorities likely will remain the same. Here's a breakdown of what Pacific Division teams could be looking to do when they arrive in Philadelphia, starting with the soon-to-be-named Arizona Coyotes.

ARIZONA COYOTES

Top priority: Scoring on the wings

The situation: Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett already has said that he would be surprised if young defensemen Connor Murphy (2011, No. 20) and Brandon Gormley (2010, No. 13) don't make the team in training camp. In addition to announcing its first-round pick June 27, the team will officially become the Arizona Coyotes that evening, according to president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc. The Coyotes could use some depth at wing and might even seek a goalie in the later rounds; Mike Smith is on board through 2018-19, when he'll turn 37 years old. Center Max Domi (2013, No. 12) was one of the final cuts at training camp last September and will challenge for a spot in 2014-15.

Possible fits: Right wing Jake Virtanen (Calgary, WHL); left wing Nicholas Ritchie (Peterborough, OHL); right wing Kasperi Kapanen (KalPa, FIN).

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 06.24.2014 / 1:39 PM


EDITOR'S NOTE: Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney chats with broadcaster Matt McConnell extensively about the team's approach to the upcoming NHL Draft.
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POSTED ON Tuesday, 06.24.2014 / 1:10 PM

PHILADELPHIA -- The scouting meetings have been finished and the draft lists have been finalized. All that's left is for 30 teams to arrive in Philadelphia for the 2014 NHL Draft and begin picking players.

That starts June 27 when the first round is held at Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN). Rounds 2-7 will be conducted June 28 (10 a.m. ET, NHLN-US, NHLN-CA).

NHL.com's draft experts have taken one last shot at predicting which teams will select which prospect.

The list includes three centers ranked in the top four of North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting: Samuel Bennett of the Kingston Frontenacs, Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice, and Leon Draisaitl of the Prince Albert Raiders. Then there's Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts, who could be the first defenseman chosen with the No. 1 pick since the St. Louis Blues selected Erik Johnson with the first choice of the 2007 draft.

NHL.com's three experts agree on the first five picks: Bennett, Ekblad, Reinhart, Draisaitl and Oshawa Generals left wing Michael Dal Colle. The order in which they will be selected varies.

If teams are looking for a skilled forward, there's Jake Virtanen of the Calgary Hitmen, Nicholas Ritchie of the Peterborough Petes, Brendan Perlini of the Niagara IceDogs, Kasperi Kapanen of KalPa in Finland, and William Nylander of Sodertalje in Sweden's second division.

If defense is what your team needs, there's Haydn Fleury of the Red Deer Rebels, Anthony DeAngelo of the Sarnia Sting, Julius Honka of the Swift Current Broncos, and Jack Dougherty of the United States National Team Development Program under-18 team.

The Florida Panthers have the first pick, followed by the Buffalo Sabres, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and New York Islanders.

The Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings will pick 29th. The New Jersey Devils were assigned the 30th pick as part of an NHL decision to reduce the organization's punishment for circumventing the salary cap to sign Ilya Kovalchuk in 2010.

The Anaheim Ducks and Tampa Bay Lightning are the only teams with multiple first-round picks. The Ducks have the No. 10 pick acquired from the Ottawa Senators as part of last summer's trade for Bobby Ryan, and the 24th pick. The Tampa Bay Lightning have the 19th pick and the 28th selection, acquired from the New York Rangers as part of the trade for Martin St. Louis.

The Sabres could add a second first-round selection as a condition of their trade of goaltender Ryan Miller to the St. Louis Blues. If the Blues trade Miller, an impending unrestricted free agent, prior to using their first-round pick, No. 21, that pick would be transferred to the Sabres.

That won't be known for sure until the draft starts Friday. Until then, check out NHL.com's predictions of how the first round could turn out.

VIEW: Adam Kimelman's mock draft

VIEW: Mike G. Morreale's mock draft

VIEW: Steven Hoffner's mock draft

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 06.24.2014 / 12:34 PM


EDITOR'S NOTE: Coyotes Analyst Tyson Nash reminisces about being selected in the tenth round of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft by the Vancouver Canucks.

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