ARIZONA COYOTES

Arizona Coyotes GM ‘excited’ for potential franchise-changing NHL Draft

Jul 1, 2022, 5:08 PM

General manager Bill Armstrong of the Arizona Coyotes prepares for the first round of the 2021 NHL ...

General manager Bill Armstrong of the Arizona Coyotes prepares for the first round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft at Gila River Arena on July 23, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by NHL Images/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by NHL Images/NHLI via Getty Images)

The 2022 NHL Draft could potentially be a franchise-changing one for the Arizona Coyotes.

After a turbulent few years both on and off the ice that included a change in ownership and at the general manager position, the team currently holds seven of the first 45 picks of this year’s draft that will take place July 7-8 in Montreal.

“I think we’ve got a lot of experience on the staff, so you feel this little bit of tingling in your stomach and you’re excited because you know you’re going to walk out after both days with some really good players. That’s an exciting time,” Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong told reporters on Friday.

Arizona’s most prized selection is the No. 3 overall pick, with its two other first-round selections being No. 27 overall from the Carolina Hurricanes and No. 32 via the Colorado Avalanche.

The Coyotes also have four picks in the second round at No. 34 overall, No. 36 from the Philadelphia Flyers, No. 43 overall via the San Jose Sharks and No. 45 from the New York Islanders.

“When you go into the draft and you only have one pick in the third round, it’s not that exciting,” Armstrong said. “So the preparation leading into it has been outstanding from our group.

“We’ve been right on it since the start of last summer and it’s just continued to kind of push forward and we’re going to get a good player at No. 3, that’s the truth of it. So we’re just going to sit there and wait and let the other guys make a decision for us.”

Numerous NHL mock drafts have Canadian center Shane Wright going No. 1 overall to the Montreal Canadiens, with Slovakian forward Juraj Slafkovsky or American center Logan Cooley being taken with the second pick by the New Jersey Devils.

But after the Canadiens and Devils help the Coyotes in narrowing down who Arizona will select at No. 3 overall, Armstrong and Co. are looking for smart hockey players that will help turn the team around in perhaps the most important draft in franchise history.

“Hockey sense is our biggest thing that we look for,” Armstrong explained. “Without hockey sense, it’s hard to play in those championship moments. … And then from that point on, it’s size, speed skill. We go through the wringer and kind of put it together. Our staff is really good at putting the best player on the list and taking that best player with the ingredients that we need.

“That’s the way that we look at it. We never really go to the point where we draft a specific position and go buy everything else. It goes to the best player. If you can get the best player, even if you have too many of them, you can always trade great players.”

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