Last weekend, the Arizona Coyotes learned that they would be picking third overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. While Arizona will likely miss out on both Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, there is still an incredible selection of talent available to choose from. This marks the third time in Coyotes history that they hold a top five pick in a draft and Arizona fans hope that this year’s selection will pan out better than the previous two. Although Arizona is watching the Stanley Cup playoffs from home for the third consecutive year, the future has continued to grow brighter in the past few days.
The first big step of the offseason came last week when the Coyotes inked prospect Christian Dvorak to an entry-level deal. A second round pick in the 2014 draft, Dvorak finished fifth overall in the Ontario Hockey League in scoring with 109 points this season, and placed second on the London Knights behind Mitchell Marner (126). The Coyotes struggled severely in scoring this year, with only two players managing to break the 40-point barrier (Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Sam Gagner). If Dvorak’s junior league stats can turn into success at the NHL level, he will provide a much needed boost to Arizona’s offense.
Prospects in Portland
Dvorak will be able to put his skills to the test in the AHL as he has joined Arizona’s current affiliate in Portland. Another Coyotes prospect that recently arrived in Portland is Laurent Dauphin. Selected in the second round of the 2013 draft, Dauphin is coming off of a strong performance with Chicoutimi of the QMJHL with 75 points in 56 games. Dvorak and Dauphin will get some experience during the playoffs alongside current AHL prospects Henrik Samuelsson, Brendan Shinnimin, and Jordan Martinook. All three spent brief stints with the Coyotes this year, with both Shinnimin and Martinook registering their first career NHL point.
Charles Woodall-Pike is a journalist who writes about the Arizona Coyotes for The Hockey Writers.