Coyotes sit out ‘Christmas’ of 1st round; GM comments on OEL’s deadline

Oct 6, 2020, 9:04 PM
Coyotes president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez introduces new GM Bill Armstrong on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2...
Coyotes president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez introduces new GM Bill Armstrong on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, via a Zoom press conference. (Screenshot)

The Arizona Coyotes do not own a pick in the first three rounds of the 2020 NHL Draft. Their new general manager Bill Armstrong had a good line to sum up sitting on their hands and watching during the first round on Tuesday.

“This felt like Christmas for everybody else and it felt like we were on the 28th of December,” Armstrong said to reporters over Zoom on Tuesday.

“It was an awful day for us in the sense that I don’t think we were ready as an organization to get involved in the draft in the first round.”

That’s not a wild statement to make when you consider the Coyotes just hired Armstrong to replace John Chayka in mid-September and have made numerous changes in the front office.

Armstrong and a portion of the staff agreed to not participate in the draft given their presence in other teams’ front offices this past season, leaving the process in the hands of new director of amateur scouting Ryan Jankowski.

Like every other NHL team, the Coyotes will get busy on Tuesday when the final six rounds of the draft take place.

While Arizona isn’t up till the fourth round and pick No. 111, Armstrong said he will look into potentially moving up.

“We’ll see how that plays out,” he said. “We’ll see how my phone rings.”

As you can imagine, the Coyotes still want to get something out of his draft and not fall behind when it comes to young talent because of the picks missing this year and next.

“The concern that we have as an organization is that we don’t want to let a whole year go by and not have any prospects come into our organization,” he said. “The way that I guided this group and what I was allowed to do is plant a seed and say, ‘We need one player out of his draft. There’s no excuses.'”

The biggest news of the day for Arizona was captain and defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s agent setting a deadline for the team to essentially decide if they will be trading Ekman-Larsson or not.

Ekman-Larsson will reportedly waive his no-trade clause for the Boston Bruins or Vancouver Canucks.

With that type of uncertainty this week before free agency begins on Friday, Armstrong was asked if that impacts what they do on Tuesday.

“Not really,” he said. “Oliver Ekman-Larsson is a great person, he’s our captain. It’s a situation where his agent is doing the best for him what he can and he thinks right and we’re doing what’s best for our organization.

“Two good sides, so it’s just one of those things that it’ll work itself out in the end. Oliver Ekman-Larsson is a professional so I know that no matter what happens, he’ll make the best of it. Both sides of it.”

Armstrong seemed resigned and OK with the series of events.

“When you have the no-trade clause you can do what you want,” he said. “I guess they set deadlines, too. There’s nothing I can do to control that. That’s just something they wanted to get accomplished and I guess they did on their end.”


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