Defender Dmitri Simashev selected 6th by Coyotes in 2023 NHL Draft

Jun 28, 2023, 5:03 PM | Updated: Jun 29, 2023, 7:59 am

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 Arizona Coyotes drafted Dmitri Simashev with the first of their two selections in the first round of the 2023 NHL Draft on Wednesday.

Simashev, picked No. 6 overall, is an 18-year-old Russian defenseman known for his speed.

He played in 29 games with Loko Yaroslavl in Russia and recorded one goal and 10 assists. The 6-foot-4, 198-pound defender was also a plus-22 while on the ice.

“He has perfect posture, sinking deep into his stride, with ample flexibility through his hips, knees, and ankles, allowing him to generate power and agility that few can match,” Elite Prospects said in its draft profile.

“He gaps up early in space and can match opponent’s speed with relative ease, and his considerable defensive range allows him to recover if he’s lost a step.”

The Chicago Blackhawks began the draft Wednesday by selecting Connor Bedard as the No. 1 pick in the draft.

Arizona will have another selection in the first round as the team will also select No. 12 overall.

The Coyotes have one pick in the second round, four third-round picks, one fourth-round pick and two picks each in rounds 5 and 6.

This is general manager Bill Armstrong’s third draft in charge of the Coyotes.

His first-round history includes the selection of forward Dylan Guenther (No. 9) in 2021. Guenther advanced enough in the two years since to see limited action in the NHL last year, appearing in 33 games and registering 6-9-15.

In 2022, Armstrong secured Logan Cooley with the third overall pick in the draft. Armstrong also drafted the 11th overall pick Conor Geekie and 29th overall Maveric Lamoureux.

Armstrong is looking to continue building a young core around last year’s leading scorer Clayton Keller, the steady Nick Schmaltz and goalies Karel Vejmelka and Connor Ingram.

Younger pieces include Guenther, NHL All-Rookie team member Matias Maccelli and 23-year-old Barrett Hayton.

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