Arizona Coyotes forfeit draft picks over combine scouting violations

Aug 26, 2020, 11:27 AM | Updated: 3:51 pm
General view outside of Gila River Arena before the NHL game between the Arizona Coyotes and the De...
General view outside of Gila River Arena before the NHL game between the Arizona Coyotes and the Detroit Red Wings on October 12, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The National Hockey League announced Wednesday the Arizona Coyotes would be forfeiting draft picks as punishment for violating the league’s combine scouting policy.

Arizona will forfeit its second-round pick this season and a first-round pick next season. It could not forfeit a first-round pick this year because the Coyotes already traded that pick to the New Jersey Devils for Taylor Hall. The Coyotes also don’t have a third-round pick this year because they traded it for Carl Soderberg, meaning Arizona will not select until the fourth-round in this year’s draft unless it acquires more picks.

The punishment was given in accordance with Article 6.3 of the NHL Constitution, a statement from the league said. That article gives commissioner Gary Bettman authority to dole out discipline “if he determines … that any person … has either violated the Constitution, the By-Laws, or any other governing rule or regulation of the league, or has been or is guilty of conduct … detrimental to the league or the game of hockey.”

It had been speculated previously that punishment of some sort would be given to the Coyotes, who were reported in January to be under investigation for improper scouting procedures.

The NHL prohibits teams from working out prospects prior to the league’s scouting combine. In Februrary, TSN’s Darren Dreger reported there were “at least 20 incidents” of the Coyotes fitness testing draft-eligible players. At the time, The Athletic’s Craig Morgan reported that the Coyotes didn’t believe they violated the rule, and that a source said the Coyotes merely conducted permitted meetings with prospects and asked that the players “show up for the interviews in a T-shirt and shorts so that team staff could ‘eyeball’ their bodies.”

But the statement from the NHL tells a different story:

“At the outset of the hearing, the club acknowledged that it had violated the policy by conducting physical testing on 2020 draft-eligible players prior to the combine.”

It’s worth noting that the Coyotes’ general manager and president of hockey operations from when this all happened, John Chayka, is no longer with the organization. He departed last month over a dispute unrelated to these violations.

The Coyotes issued a statement in response to the punishment.

“We were advised today of the NHL’s ruling regarding the allegations of physical fitness testing of draft prospects and respect the league’s ruling,” the statement said. “Under new leadership, we have added thorough internal controls and compliance measures to prevent this type of occurrence from happening again in the future. We will have no further comment.”

Arizona Coyotes

Juuso Valimaki #4 of the Arizona Coyotes celebrates with teammate Barrett Hayton #29 after scoring ...
Associated Press

Coyotes beat Blackhawks at home behind 3 goal 3rd period

Juuso Valimaki broke a tie with 3:12 left and the Arizona Coyotes beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 on Saturday night.
3 days ago
(Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)...
Austin Scott

Josh Doan says ‘it was hard’ to leave ASU to go pro with Coyotes

After two successful seasons at ASU, Josh Doan made the decision to go pro and start his journey with the Coyotes on Thursday.
3 days ago
Travis Boyd #72 of the Arizona Coyotes celebrates with Liam O'Brien #38 and Christian Fischer #36 a...
Associated Press

Coyotes defeat visiting Canucks, extend points streak to 7

Travis Boyd scored twice, Ivan Prosvetov stopped 29 shots and the Arizona Coyotes stretched their points streak to six straight games.
5 days ago
Arizona State Sun Devils hockey forward Josh Doan at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Arizona, on Oct. 14, 2...
Austin Scott

ASU forward Josh Doan decides to go pro with Coyotes

Josh Doan will leave the Sun Devils after two seasons. He will debut for the Tucson Roadrunners on Friday.
4 days ago
Travis Boyd #72 of the Arizona Coyotes celebrates a game-winning goal in overtime against the Calga...
Associated Press

Coyotes defeat Flames in OT on Travis Boyd game-winner, extend points streak

The Arizona Coyotes extended their points streak to six with a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night.
7 days ago
Arizona Coyotes right wing Clayton Keller (9) flips the puck toward Calgary Flames goaltender Dan V...
Arizona Sports

Coyotes’ Clayton Keller named NHL’s 1st Star of the Week

Arizona Coyotes winger Clayton Keller was named the NHL's First Star of the Week on Monday, the league announced.
8 days ago
Arizona Coyotes forfeit draft picks over combine scouting violations