When Arizona Coyotes general manager (GM) Bill Armstrong decided to tear the team down to its roots, it was clear a full-on rebuild was on the horizon. The team needed a reset after trading away the likes of Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Conor Garland, Darcy Kuemper, and Christian Dvorak. With all these trades, they received immense draft capital, allowing them to select elite talent. They have found plenty of high-skilled players, primarily in rounds two and three. With that said, here are some gems Armstrong and the scouting staff have found in the second and third rounds.
Josh Doan (2021 Second)
The 2021 NHL Draft housed some elite talent in Owen Power, Matty Beniers, and Luke Hughes. Although plenty of prospects were waiting to be picked in the second round, one in particular stood out. That was none other than Josh Doan, son of former Coyotes legend Shane Doan. Josh was taken with the 37th pick and, at the time, was considered a reach, and many analysts didn’t have him going in the second round. In his first season with the Chicago Steel, his production was far from where his talents were, racking up 14 points in 45 games.
After an entire offseason with the team and more ice time, his production skyrocketed as he was one of the best on the Steel. His second season saw him record 70 points in 53 games, being well over a point-per-game player. He then took the next two seasons to join Greg Powers at Arizona State University to further his development. Doan excelled under Powers, having 37 points in 35 games his freshman year and following it up with 38 points in 39 games his sophomore season.
Josh also turned pro last season, playing 14 games with the Tucson Roadrunners, registering six points in that span. While he’ll always have his father’s name shadowing over him, he looks to make his own path to fame as a Coyote in the coming years.
J.J Moser (2021 Second)
The 2021 NHL Draft was Armstrong’s first kick at being a GM in a draft setting, and he had lots of draft capital to work with. To be exact, he held three second-round picks, and if he drafts correctly, he could have three steals. With the 60th selection, the team drafted defenseman J.J Moser, who looks like a gem for the Coyotes. During his draft year, the Swiss native recorded 30 points in 48 games with EHC Biel-Bienne, and once drafted, he never looked back.
There’s no denying Moser’s production in his draft year, but there were no real expectations labeled as he entered the 2021-22 season. The Coyotes were still in the midst of a massive rebuild, so the plan was for him to develop in Switzerland or the American Hockey League (AHL) with the Roadrunners. He started the season with the Roadrunners, putting up respectable numbers as a rookie. This caught the attention of Armstrong, who decided to call him up to the NHL.
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In his rookie season, he performed much better than everyone imagined, as he recorded 15 points in 43 games. Entering the 2023-24 season, Moser is looking to be an absolute gem of the 2021 NHL Draft as he looks to become a franchise defenseman for the Coyotes.
Julian Lutz (2022 Second)
Entering the 2022 NHL Draft, the Coyotes held an abundance of draft capital as the rebuild marched on. It was headlined by the team selecting Pittsburgh native Logan Cooley third overall, but one name that doesn’t nearly get enough attention is Julian Lutz. The German winger had an excellent draft year with the RB Hockey Juniors of the Alps Hockey League (AlpsHL), recording 26 points in 33 games.
Lutz is a highly creative winger, especially off the rush, with many tools to offer. He built off his first year, this time playing in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL). He had a quiet season, putting up three points in 14 games, but it’s fair to remember he was still just 19 years old. However, he shined with Team Germany at the World Junior Championship (WJC), with four points in four games.
Lutz took another step forward in the DEL last season, where he had eight points in 24 games played. He also added two assists in five games at the WJC. He could be a great bottom-six player for the Coyotes and could have an even bigger impact depending on his overall play in 2023-24.
Miko Mattika (2022 Third)
Similar to the number of second-round picks, the Coyotes have also added many third-round picks. With their first of two third-round selections in 2022, they opted to take winger Miko Mattika from Finland, and it seems they have found a diamond in the rough. Mattika spent his draft year with the Jokerit U20 team of the SM-Sarja. He had a good season, registering 33 points in 30 games. The year following, he decided to jump over to the United States Hockey League (USHL), where he excelled.
Playing for the Madison Capitals, he showed why he was taken in the third round, recording 35 points in 28 games. He was shortly traded to the Waterloo Blackhawks, where he took time to adjust, only having 20 points in 30 games, but overall, it was a good season. This season, he has opted to take the college route, where he’ll play for the University of Denver, which has been known to have a great hockey program. He will look to have a big first season in the NCAA as he continues his mission to make an impact at the NHL level.
Jeremy Langlois (2022 Third)
The need for a defenseman in the NHL has never been more immense. The likes of Cale Makar, Adam Fox, and Erik Karlsson are among the best, and it’s much easier to win having players like that. While Jeremy Langlois likely won’t be that talented, he has all the tools to become an everyday NHLer. He flashed his offensive potential during his draft year, recording 47 points in 60 games with the Cape Brenton Eagles of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).
His offensive upside was likely one of the most significant reasons Armstrong took him, as he continued to show that this past season in the QMJHL. This time, he split his season with the Eagles and the Quebec Remparts. The 2022-23 season saw him score 50 points in 61 games. He added another seven points, helping the Remparts win the Memorial Cup. Langlois will continue developing in the QMJHL with the Remparts, who look to have another great season in 2023-24.
Coyotes Have Bright Future with Prospect Pool
The Coyotes have an extremely bright future with all the prospects listed above. This also doesn’t account for the rest of the players who were drafted in other rounds, where they have plenty of elite talent. It’s also good to note they have 17 second and third-round picks throughout the next three drafts, which offers them plenty of flexibility. The Coyotes are in a great position and have the potential to be a force in the NHL in a few years.