Arizona Coyotes continue to earn rave reviews of their draft

Jul 18, 2015, 1:46 PM | Updated: 1:47 pm
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The Arizona Coyotes have many talented prospects in their organization, and the league has taken notice.

Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, Christian Dvorak and Brendan Perlini are four exciting athletes that are projected to make impacts for the team in the near future, with Domi and Duclair expected to be on the Opening Day roster.

They are a group of high-end talent, which the Coyotes only added on to during the 2015 NHL Draft.

The team had two first round selections and used the picks on a pair of centers in Dylan Strome and Nick Merkley.

David Hahn of Hockey Future gave glowing reviews of General Manager Don Maloney’s 2015 draft class.

Overall, Maloney capped off an impressive weekend of drafting by staying the course in his rebuilding efforts. Fans in Arizona will soon be clamoring for many of these prospects to be given time at the NHL level but rest assured: the team’s patience in prospect development is the right course and will be worth the wait.

The coup of Maloney’s draft class was six-foot-two center Dylan Strome, who was taken with the third overall selection of the first round.

Strome played on the same OHL team as first overall selection Connor McDavid, and was still able to lead the league in scoring with 45 goals and 84 assists in 68 games.

The 18-year-old will have a chance to make the team this season, but is likely another year away from playing in the NHL.

Hahn projects Strome to turn into the type of game-changing player the Coyotes have coveted at center for a long time.

The Coyotes are getting a potential franchise center, the type of player that teams develop, covet, and hang onto for years. They have proven to be patient in developing young players, as seen by the development path of fellow Coyotes prospects Max Domi, Brendan Perlini, and Christian Dvorak. It’s unlikely that Strome will stick with the team next year, but that’s not a knock on him, but rather just a part of the rebuilding process

With the center position an area of weakness in the organization, Maloney continued to improve that area with the selection of Nick Merkley to end the first round.

The 18-year-old notched 90 points (20 goals, 70 assists) in 72 games with the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL, helping them to win a league championship.

There was a player in the organization that immediately called Merkley a steal when his name was called on draft night.

Even though he may be a year or two away from reaching the NHL, Hahn points out his strong skill set that is setting him up for long-term success.

Merkley brings a lot of elements that the Coyotes like in a center, including a tenacious and aggressive forecheck, an intelligent and witty hockey mind, and a top notch work ethic that elevated those around him this year. Merkley finished the regular season with 90 points, and added another 27 in the playoffs as the Rockets clinched the WHL title.

Strome and Merkley were just two of Maloney’s nine selections during the draft, which turned out to be a major overall success for the Coyotes.

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