GLENDALE – Barring a trade(s), the Coyotes will make four selections in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft on Sunday in Newark, N.J., within the first 73 picks, and seven total.
That’s great news for the franchise, which considers this year’s draft loaded with quality prospects.
“It’s a deep draft,” Coyotes Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving told me. “There are definitely impact players that will go early in this draft, but I think there are a lot of really good players that are going to be available beyond the first round.”
He added, “There are players with high-end talent at all positions, and a lot them.”
The Coyotes have the following picks: 12th, 42nd, 62nd, 73rd, 133rd, 163rd and 193rd.
Regarding the 12th overall pick: The team recently posted a poll question on its official Facebook page that asked fans what type of player – by position – the Coyotes should select with the pick. “Forward” was the most popular answer among the “forward,” “defenseman” or “goalie” options, but most fans that responded clicked the “Best Player Available, Regardless of Position” option.
That surprised me a little considering the Coyotes have drafted a defenseman three out of the last four years, and the fact that Phoenix ranked 21st out of 30 NHL teams in scoring last season at 2.52 goals per game.
While the Coyotes will be monitoring the high-scoring forwards being picked – or, more importantly, those NOT being picked - before they select at No. 12 on Sunday, Treliving said it’s dangerous for teams to draft based on immediate needs because only a handful of the players drafted will make it to the NHL right away.
“Looking back a few years, we’ve drafted quality defensemen and now we think we’ve got some depth there in the organization so naturally you look up front,” Treliving said. “But we’ve always gone by the philosophy that when it gets to our pick – our list is done and whoever is the best value, the best asset, the best player, regardless of position, that’s the pick we’ll make.”
That’s not just talk. In 2010, the Coyotes entered the draft focused on taking a forward with the 13th overall pick but pounced on defenseman Brandon Gormley when he was still available. The same thing happened in 2011 when defenseman Connor Murphy was still available when the team picked 20th overall.
“You have to be really prepared as to who might be there when you pick and what you might do,” Treliving said. “There is always a surprise or two and an aha moment. That’s what makes the draft exciting.”
What follows is an alphabetical list of forwards – followed by some highly-touted defensemen - who might be available when the Coyotes make their pick at No. 12, should they keep it.
If you are a fan of mock drafts – which I am not because of the inevitable and aforementioned “aha moment” that render most of them moot – I suggest you visit NHL.com. Three of their experts offer their predictions for the 30 picks that will be made in the first round.
The draft is being televised in the United States on NBC Sports Network (and later on NHL Network). Coverage begins at noon (Arizona time). If you would like to watch the draft with other Coyotes fan, the team’s official viewing party is at 18 Degrees Neighborhood Grill in Scottsdale. Fans can also tune in to Fox Sports 910 AM on Sunday at noon for live, in-depth coverage of the draft with broadcasters Bob Heethuis and Luke Lapinski. That broadcast will originate from the team's official viewing party.
I will end this blog by reminding readers that I will be at the draft on Sunday gathering lots of exclusive content for the team’s official web site. I encourage you to check in with phoenixcoyotes.com throughout the day to follow along and to get introduced to the young players that the Coyotes select at the Prudential Center in Newark.
And if you are not doing so already, I suggest you follow me on Twitter at @davest4yotes for behind-the-scenes photos and short videos. I also suggest you follow @RichNairn9 and @Chris_Wojcik. They, too, will be in Newark tweeting behind-the-scenes content.
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