High praise given to Arizona Coyotes for performance in 2016 NHL Draft

Jun 26, 2016, 12:26 PM | Updated: 8:42 pm
(AP Photos)...
(AP Photos)
(AP Photos)

The 2016 NHL Draft concluded Saturday and the results are in.

Like the Phoenix Suns, the Arizona Coyotes have received high praise from national media outlets for their performance in their draft.

First-year general manager John Chayka was received props from Yahoo! Sports’ Greg Wyshynski.

The 27-year-old GM of the Coyotes stunned the draft by taking Clayton Keller at No. 7, but the pick was brilliant. The player we all thought he was taking at No. 7, Jakob Chychryn, went to the Coyotes at 16th overall as Chayka made a smart move for Pavel Datsyuk’s cap space. Later, he flipped a second-rounder for troubled but talented defenseman Anthony DeAngelo of the Lightning. Smashing debut.

As Arizona Sports’ Craig Morgan noted, the Coyotes entered the draft needing more defensemen in their system.

Dylan Strome, Christian Dvorak, Conor Garland, Christian Fischer and Ryan Macinnis all have the future shining bright for what’s to come at forward, and Max Domi and Anthony Duclair are both coming off successful rookie campaigns.

While those seven players warrant that accolade, only Strome is exclusively tied to center.

Veterans Antoine Vermette (33), Martin Hanzal (29), Boyd Gordon (32) and Brad Richardson (31) were far and away the leaders in faceoffs taken in the 2015-16 season. Keller, like Dvorak, Macinnis and Fischer, brings more flexibility to the loaded forward pool.

Selecting Keller paid off even more when Chychrun, a player some were predicting as the pick at No. 7, was still available in a trade up scenario.

The way that unfolded for Chayka had USA Today proclaiming the Coyotes as the winner of the first round.

First-round winner: The Arizona Coyotes landed Clayton Keller, a dynamic, crowd-pleasing center, and then traded up to land Jakob Chychrun, who has the potential to be a top pairing defenseman.

Chychrun became the fourth defensemen selected in the first round by Arizona in the past nine drafts, joining Oliver Ekman-Larsson (2009), Brandon Gormley (2010) and Connor Murphy (2011).

The Coyotes already bolstered their defense this offseason prior to the draft, trading for the negotiating rights and signing former Dallas Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski. 

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