ESPN.com’s Custance: Coyotes should trade up to select Auston Matthews
May 8, 2016, 2:00 PM
(Roni Rekomaa/Lehtikuva via AP)
The match between likely No. 1 overall selection Auston Matthews in the 2016 NHL Draft and the Arizona Coyotes isn’t hard to see.
Matthews, born and raised in Arizona, would become the new face of the franchise for his hometown team that has only reached the conference finals once in 36 seasons.
ESPN.com’s Craig Custance sees the match.
One action can go a long way in doing both: an all-out effort to acquire the No. 1 overall pick in the draft from the Toronto Maple Leafs. It’s something the Coyotes need to seriously explore.
Trading up for the No. 1 pick might seem like fantasy talk to some, but the Coyotes do actually have the assets required for such a bold move.
Even in a deal without franchise defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson — former GM Don Maloney attempted to squash such talk in March — the Coyotes possess some big-time value they can throw at the Maple Leafs.
That still leaves a stable full of young players for the Coyotes to include to try and pry the pick away.
Credit Maloney for stocking the cupboard at the end of his tenure. Chayka, if he decides to go down this path, has young players like Max Domi, Dylan Strome, Christian Dvorak and Christian Fischer to include in a blockbuster.
Custance doesn’t even include right winger Conor Garland and center Ryan Macinnis in the discussion, who were both rated top 50 prospects by TSN earlier this year. Strome and Dvorak were No. 2 and No. 3 on the list, respectively.
Those players, along with their draft picks (Arizona has two first rounders this year) could be enough for a team like the Maple Leafs that need multiple young players to have more of a chance at a successful rebuild.
The Coyotes themselves would have to ask if a deal like that is worth it, even though Matthews is assured as the next big potential franchise player to come out of the draft. While they are arguably top-heavy on forward prospects, giving up the farm is always a difficult proposition, especially for a brand new general manager.
Even if they were, Custance himself is unsure of what would be the right deal to get the job done.
Does a deal that includes Strome, Dvorak, Fischer and both firsts get it done? Would it at least keep Lamoriello on the line?