Arizona Coyotes general manager John Chayka hopes to enjoy the same fortunes as the Tampa Bay Lightning when it comes to turning a first-round pick acquired in a trade into a great NHL player.
Chayka recalled on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Doug and Wolf on Thursday how he read that Kyle Quincey was traded by the Lighting to the Detroit Red Wings for a first-round pick. That pick the Lighting received in the 2012 trade turned into Andrei Vasilevskiy, who is quickly being consider as one of the best young goaltenders in the league.
It’s that same luck that Chayka hopes to get after his latest trade sent Martin Hanzal, Ryan White and a fourth-round pick in this year’s NHL Draft to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Grayson Downing and the Wild’s first-round pick in this year’s draft, a second-round pick in 2018 and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2019.
“Everyone wants to proclaim winners and losers on the instant analysis on deadline day,” Chayka said. “We will see what happens with our picks. We will see what we are able to turn the picks into. We will see where the amateur scouts draft.”
Chayka recalled the Vasilevskiy deal Thursday morning, but also was quick to point the deal had its good and bad. The bad news is the Coyotes lost a player that has been around the team for a long time and created a lot of value to the organization. The good news, because of that value, the organization possibly set itself up to be well-stocked with rich young talent that will hopefully provide a foundation for a dominant team for years to come.
“The instant analysis is not what it is about for me, it’s about having the longer-term view and we will see over the next two or three years where we stand,” Chayka said. “If we can make the right picks and do the right things with the assets, then it was a good move and if we can’t then it was a big miss. That’s where I’m at with these things and time will tell.”
In the meantime, the Coyotes currently sit 29th out of 30 teams and could get the No. 2 draft pick in this year’s draft, if history doesn’t repeat itself. In 2015, the Coyotes were in a similar position when the Edmonton Oilers leap frogged both the Coyotes and the Buffalo Sabers to select Connor McDavid that year.
That year the Coyotes selected center Dylan Strome, who many experts said at the time would be have been the No. 1 pick if it wasn’t for McDavid and Jack Eichel, who was selected by the Sabres.
“We knew this was a building year. We are trying to grow. We are trying to improve every day. We are trying to compete and beat competitive teams. We have a lot of young players that have a lot to prove,” Chayka said. “I have a few more picks so I’ll be doing some scouting and that’s the natural evolution of any general manger’s job once you get past deadline. You start to watch some more amateur players and start to gear up for the draft.”
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