Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong reflects on offseason moves, talks NHL Draft

Jul 22, 2021, 5:30 PM
(Twitter photo/ @AZCoyotesPR)...
(Twitter photo/ @AZCoyotesPR)
(Twitter photo/ @AZCoyotesPR)

The Arizona Coyotes have made a couple of offseason trades leading up to the NHL Draft on Friday. Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong spoke to the media on the team’s recent trades as well as prepping for the draft.

On Thursday morning, Arizona made a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers to acquire defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, a 2022 second-round draft pick and a 2022 seventh-round draft pick.

The trade clears up $4.5 million in cap space for the Flyers in each of next two years while the Coyotes give up nothing in return to Philadelphia.

“[Gostisbehere] is a really exciting player for us. And we’ve been in touch with Philly, probably since the beginning of the year about him,” Armstrong said.

The Coyotes GM added that Gostisbehere can run a power-play well from up top and has a great shot. Armstrong is also intrigued by the fact that Arizona’s new defenseman still has some potential left at the age of 28.

“When you first come into the league, you come in like gangbusters, and then you realize it’s work and people start figuring out and it’s easy to get out of the game quickly,” Armstrong said. “But the guys that stay around and perfect it and really work at their game survive. And I think [Gostisbehere] is one of those guys that’s not only going to survive, but he’s gonna take it to the next level.”

In early July, the Coyotes also made a change to their scouting department as the organization hired Alan Hepple as Arizona’s new director of pro scouting.

Armstrong went on to say that when he landed in Arizona, he wanted to build the best scouting team the organization has ever seen.

“When you have good scouts, you want to give them good picks. And that’s what we’ve tried to do here. We’ve tried to put some good picks in their hands to make a difference for us,” Armstrong said.

Heading into the draft, Arizona was forced to forfeit their first-round pick in 2021 due to violating the NHL’s combine testing policy in 2020. The Coyotes were also forced to lose their second-round pick in last year’s draft as part of the same violations.

However, the Coyotes still have seven draft picks after trading for Andrew Ladd and an additional second-round pick from the New York Islanders. The Coyotes also have three draft picks in the top-60.

Armstrong stressed on the importance of having draft capital in this year’s draft as well as in 2022.

“Number one, there’s comfort as an organization that you’re going to have the ability to draft, that’s one,” The Coyotes GM said. “Number two, that you have the ability, you have assets, it’s like your bank account, you’ve got some money in the bank and you can do some things. So it gives you a lot of flexibility knowing, especially next year, the amount of picks that we’ve acquired, and also going into this draft. I think our scouts are excited about some of the players they have the opportunity to draft.”

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Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong reflects on offseason moves, talks NHL Draft