A look back at the Arizona Coyotes’ past first round selections

Apr 10, 2019, 2:55 PM
Barrett Hayton, fifth from right, of Canada, poses after being selected by the Phoenix Coyotes duri...
Barrett Hayton, fifth from right, of Canada, poses after being selected by the Phoenix Coyotes during the NHL hockey draft in Dallas, Friday, June 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
(AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

After failing to clinch a playoff berth by just four points last week, the Arizona Coyotes learned Tuesday that they will be selecting No.14 in the upcoming 2019 NHL Draft.

Since the Coyotes moved to Phoenix in 1996, the team has made a first round selection every year except 1997 and 2003.

Since its creation, the team hasn’t had much luck in the NHL’s draft lottery, never receiving a pick higher than No. 3.

As the Coyotes look ahead to the draft in June, here’s a reminder of the team’s first round picks from the past five years:

2018: C Barrett Hayton – No. 5 overall

(Matt Layman/Arizona Sports)

Last year, the Coyotes surprised many when they selected center Barrett Hayton over Czech winger Filip Zadina with the No. 5 overall pick.

Before being selected by the Coyotes, the Kitchener, Ontario native had just finished his second season in the Ontario Hockey League. During that season, Hayton scored 21 goals with 39 assists in 63 games.

At the beginning of this season, the Coyotes made another surprising decision when they announced that Hayton would be on their opening night roster. After just two games and no on-ice appearances, Hayton was sent back to his junior team, the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL.

With his 2018-19 season limited due to injury, the 18-year-old made his case for a possible promotion by scoring 26 goals with 40 assists in just 39 games.

2017: D Pierre-Olivier Joseph – No. 23 overall

(Twitter Photo/@ArizonaCoyotes)

In 2017, the Coyotes traded the seventh overall pick in the draft to the New York Rangers for center Derek Stepan and goalie Antti Raanta, leaving them with just the No. 23 overall pick.

With that pick, the Coyotes selected defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph from the Charlottetown Islanders of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). The 19-year-old scored nine goals with 38 assists while splitting time with the Islanders and the Drummondville Voltiguers during the 2018-19 season.

Before the draft, the one area of concern that scouts had about Joseph was his size. On draft day, Joseph measured in at 6-foot-2, 163 pounds. Joseph is consider small for a defenseman, as they usually weigh somewhere in the 200-pound range. With that being said, being a small defenseman in the NHL is not an impossible feat. For example, both Erik Karlsson (6-foot, 190 pounds) and Ryan Ellis (5-foot-10, 180 pounds) have put together two very solid careers as smaller defensemen.

2016: C Clayton Keller – No. 7 overall

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Before being selected by the Coyotes in 2016, center Clayton Keller was already drawing major attention in the U. S. National Team Development Program. From 2014-16, Keller posted an outstanding 189 points, setting a new record for most points by a player in the USMNT Development Program.

After being selected No. 7 overall by the Coyotes in 2016, Keller scored 21 goals with 24 assists in his only season at Boston University.

Over the past two seasons, the 20-year-old has managed to play in every game for the Coyotes and was named a finalist for the Calder Trophy, an award given to the NHL’s top rookie, in 2017.

Keller was also named to the 2019 NHL All-Star Game as the Coyotes’ lone representative.

D Jakob Chychrun – No. 16 overall

(Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

In 2016, the Coyotes received the No. 16 overall pick in a trade that sent center Joe Vitale and two draft picks to the Detriot Red Wings in exchange for the pick and center Pavel Datsyuk. With that selection, the Coyotes chose defenseman Jakob Chychrun, who had spent the previous two seasons with the Sarnia Sting of the OHL.

It didn’t take long for Chychrun to make an impact for the Coyotes, playing in 68 games and registering 20 points in his rookie season. After missing the first two months of the 2017-18 season due to knee surgery, Chychrun came back and still managed to compete in 50 games for the Coyotes.

This past season, Chychrun managed to match his point total from his rookie year (20) in 15 fewer games.

2015: C Dylan Strome – No. 3 overall

(AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes, File)

When the Coyotes selected him third overall, center Dylan Strome became the second member of his family to be selected in the first round of the NHL Draft; his older brother Ryan was selected by the New York Islanders with the No. 5 pick in 2011.

Strome only played in 48 games over three seasons with the Coyotes, registering 16 total points before being traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in November 2018.

Things started to click for the 22-year-old once he arrived in Chicago. In a more established role with the Blackhawks, Strome scored 17 goals with 34 assists in 58 games last season.

RW Nick Merkley – No. 30 overall

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

After recording a total of 148 points over two outstanding seasons in the Western Hockey League, right wing Nick Merkley was selected by the Coyotes with the last pick of the first round in 2015.

The 21-year-old has spent a majority of the past two seasons playing for the Coyotes’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Tucson Roadrunners. In those two seasons, Merkley has scored 26 goals with 43 assists in 80 total games.

Merkley made his NHL debut with the Coyotes during the 2017-18 season, playing in just one game before being sent back to Tucson.

2014: LW Brendan Perlini – No. 12 overall

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

After watching his father play hockey when he grew up, left wing Brendan Perlini became one of the few players to play in the NHL after being born in the United Kingdom.

The Coyotes selected the English-born forward just after he completed his third season in the OHL. Perlini scored 28 goals in his first 100 career games and looked to be part of the Coyotes rising young core.

In November 2018, Perlini was sent to the Blackhawks in the same trade as Strome. Just like Strome, Perlini began to heat up when he arrived in Chicago, scoring 12 goals in 46 games.

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A look back at the Arizona Coyotes’ past first round selections