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THE DESERT DOG BLOG: COYOTES CONSIDERING DEALS AT NHL DRAFT

Friday, 06.25.2010 / 12:04 PM / The Desert Dog Blog - by Dave Vest
By Dave Vest
LOS ANGELES – After a two-day celebration of the 2009-10 season in Las Vegas, the NHL gets back to work today and Saturday with its Entry Draft here at the Staples Center.

The Coyotes have five picks in this year’s draft – including two first-rounders – but that total probably will change before the day is over.

As of this writing, the Coyotes own the following overall selections: 13, 22, 52, 113 and 138. But don’t be surprised if things change quickly because the Coyotes have their eye on a player who likely won’t be available when they first pick at No. 13. I’m told they are listening to offers to move up to the No. 8 or No. 9 spot and may be willing to part with the 22nd overall pick and/or a young player in the system to do that. We shall see.

If a deal doesn’t happen and the Coyotes keep the 13th pick – which they received in the 2009 trade that sent center Olli Jokinen to Calgary – they could select one of the following players (listed alphabetically) if they are still available:

• Alexander Burmistrov, forward: click here for more info
• Jack Campbell, goalie: click here for more info
• Jeff Skinner, forward: click here for more info
• Austin Watson, forward: click here for more info

I asked General Manager Don Maloney to rank the talent in this year’s draft on a scale of 1 to 10. He said it’s about a 7. I also asked him if he was concerned that the Coyotes only had five picks.

“Not really,” Maloney said. “We have two first-round picks and a second-round pick. Those are three really good picks. Maybe we will accumulate a few more, but I’m not overly concerned about that. We’ve got a lot of young players in our system now so I’m not sitting here saying we need to get two or three or four more picks this year.”

The first round of the draft is today at 4 p.m. on Versus. Rounds 2-7 are Saturday at 10 a.m. on NHL Network.

While the first round gets most of the hype, Maloney says what happens on Saturday is very important too.

Don Maloney
“To me, making good picks in the later rounds is the difference between having a good draft and having a phenomenal draft,” Maloney said. “You expect the players taken in the first round to become NHL players and you hope to get an NHL player with your second-round picks. Anything beyond that is a major coup.”

For example, Maloney noted that prospect Maxim Goncharov, a defenseman the Coyotes chose in the fifth round of the 2007 draft with the 123rd overall pick, has an excellent chance to make the roster this season.

Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett is here for the draft and has provided input to the scouting staff the past few weeks. Maloney said that has been a real plus. Now the key is drafting skilled players who will fit into the system that Tippett likes to play.
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