The Arizona Coyotes and new general manager John Chayka are open for business and looking to turn the corner with the franchise. Now stocked full of great forward prospects, they enter the 2016 draft with two 1st round picks (No. 7 and No. 20 from the New York Rangers) and two 2nd round picks, including the compensatory pick for not signing Conner Bleackley.
But Chayka has been dealing and is open to doing more. He traded for the negotiating rights to Alex Goligoski and made a deal to send prospect Maxim Letunov to the San Jose Sharks for picks.
There’s been much talk of the Coyotes trading up, particularly because the projected number one overall pick, Auston Matthews, is an Arizona native. But there’s a possibility the team trades down instead, according to Chayka. He told AZ Central’s Sarah McLellan that he received a “pretty impressive offer” last Wednesday to move down in Friday’s draft.
Chayka believes that the talent in the draft begins to taper off after their 20th pick, so he’s cautious about trading down, but also knows that means his picks have real value. “If we do stay at seven and 20, then we’ll get good players,” he said. “If we make a decision to move, then we’ll get good players that way, as well.”
“We’ve gone through scenarios,” he added. “We’ve talked to teams that we think have interest. It’s something that comes down to the (draft) table.”
He also addressed, after a fashion, the notion that the Coyotes might make an irresistible offer to the Maple Leafs to grab the 1st overall pick. “We’re looking to improve our team,” he said. “Auston’s a great player. He would improve anyone’s team I think, but there’s a limit to what you’re willing to pay to do that.
“When you’re creating massive holes like some players would be if you moved them, what’s your capacity to fill those holes internally or through the free-agency market?”
Trading down looks like it’s giving him much more pause than sacrificing the future to put Matthews in a Coyotes jersey.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.