Arizona Coyotes drop 3 spots in NHL Draft Lottery, will pick No. 7 in NHL Draft
The Coyotes had a 10.3 percent chance to win the first overall pick at Saturday’s NHL Draft Lottery in Toronto. Their worst-case scenario was dropping to the seventh overall pick. The worst-case scenario played out.
Arizona will pick No. 7 in the 2017 NHL Draft in June in Chicago. Three teams with minuscule odds jumped into the top three: New Jersey at No. 1, Philadelphia at No. 2 and Dallas at No. 3. Colorado will pick fourth, Vancouver is fifth and the expansion Vegas Golden Knights are sixth. Colorado finished with the league’s worst record. Vancouver was second worst. Arizona was third worst.
“It was the worst scenario but our best odds were to finish sixth, too, so it’s not like it’s unlikely,” Coyotes GM John Chayka said. “You come here to win so it’s disappointing not to win.”
The Devils had an 8.5 percent chance of picking first. The Flyers had a 2.4 percent chance of picking second and the Stars had a 6.4 percent chance of picking third. The Coyotes had a 9.7 percent chance of picking seventh. The disappointment comes on the heels of the 2015 and 2016 lotteries, in which the Coyotes lost out on generational centers Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews and high-scoring wing Patrik Laine.
Despite the outcome, Chayka said he had no major problems with the system.
“I think it’s got some pros and cons but that’s the reality no matter what the system is, no matter who picks it,” he said. “It’s the rules we play under.”
Coyotes Director of Amateur Scouting Tim Bernhardt believes center Nolan Patrick is the clear No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft.
“Nolan Patrick is a really good hockey player,” Bernhardt said. “He’s probably not in the class of McDavid and Matthews, but he is without a doubt the top guy in the draft. It’s really just a bunch of sorting out after that. I really don’t think there are one or two other names that jump out. There may be half a dozen guys that are pretty close after that.”
Centers Nico Hischier, Casey Mittelstadt, Gabriel Vilardi, Michael Rasmussen, Cody Glass and wings Owen Tippett and Eeli Tolvanen are the top-ranked North American skaters per NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings.
Forwards Klim Kostin, Elias Pettersson, Lias Andersson, Martin Necas, and defenseman Miro Heiskanen and Timothy Liljegren are the top rated European skaters.
The top rated goalies in North America and Europe are Jake Oettinger, Kith Petruzzelli, Ian Scott, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Olle Eriksson-Ek and Adam Ahman.
Chayka said that because there is so much disagreement about the players who go from No. 3 to No. 15, teams will have different lists which could mean the player the Coyotes want will still be there when they pick at No. 7. Chayka also sees opportunity to use the team’s other first-round pick (acquired in the Martin Hanzal trade) and the team’s high second-round pick as assets.
“You’re not playing the odds in terms of that high, elite talent but we’ve got a great group of young players and we’ll see how it plays out,” he said.