When the 2014 NHL Draft kicks in, the Phoenix Coyotes will transform into the Arizona Coyotes. That’s not the only reason why the events of June 27-28 will be a big deal, though, as GM Don Maloney explains.
“It’s the Super Bowl for our scouts,” Maloney said. “It’s really the foundation of your whole franchise. If you do a good job at the draft table you acquire assets that can be used not only for yourself but also assets maybe you can use in other deals… The draft weekend is as important as they come.”
(Feel free to insert your favorite halftime show performer/expensive commercial jokes here.)
Maloney indicates that the team might want to call an audible around draft time, either moving up or down from their No. 12 pick.
“We like the top end of the first round,” Maloney said. “If we could get ourselves up into the top four or five picks we’d certainly look to do it. I don’t know how realistic that is for us. I think we’re more inclined to move down from our pick at No. 12 depending on how it flows… These decisions all come down to the draft table and what the flow is like and what the phone calls are like.”
” … It’s important to do your homework and kind of reach out to everybody and let everybody know ‘Listen, we’re very flexible where we’re at.'”
Even if they stay put in their current position, the Coyotes could stock up on some solid talent in Philadelphia. They own that No. 12 pick along with two second-rounders (43rd and 58th overall) giving them three picks in the top 60. With the 73rd pick, they also have four choices in the top 80. Overall, they have eight selections in the draft; that’s not half-bad, as four nhl teams are tied in front of them with nine picks.
Interestingly, the Coyotes chose 12th overall in 2013, picking up an intriguing talent in Max Domi, so it’s a familiar spot for Phoenix.
If the Buffalo Sabres can sign Jimmy Vesey, they may be more willing to trade winger Evander Kane.
That’s what TSN 1040 (Vancouver) radio host Matt Sekeres has been hearing, and what he’s hearing does make a lot of sense.
Kane, whose off-ice issues are once again making headlines, has two years left on his contract before he can become an unrestricted free agent. He plays the same position as Vesey, 23, who’s currently Buffalo property but can sign with any team he chooses on Aug. 15.
Even if the Sabres can’t convince Vesey to join them, Kane could still be traded. GM Tim Murray has already conceded that his patience is wearing thin with the 24-year-old that he acquired from Winnipeg not long ago. Alex Nylander, drafted eighth overall in June, plays the same position as Kane, and Murray has said it’s possible the teenager could make the jump to the NHL next season.
Buffalo, Boston and Toronto have generally been considered the favorites to land Vesey. Chicago and Pittsburgh have also been mentioned.
Related: Cue the Kane-to-Vancouver speculation
The Toronto Maple Leafs won’t require arbitration with forward Peter Holland. They’ve signed the 25-year-old to a one-year deal worth a reported $1.3 million.
Holland had a hearing scheduled for today. Last week, the Leafs sent a message by putting him on waivers, which he cleared.
Holland had nine goals and 18 assists in 65 games last season. With him signed, the Leafs have only defensemen Frank Corrado and Martin Marincin as restricted free agents. Corrado has an arbitration hearing scheduled for tomorrow; Marincin’s is next Tuesday.
Related: Corrado and Leafs aren’t that far apart
This is an important week in the Detroit Red Wings’ offseason, with Petr Mrazek‘s arbitration hearing scheduled for Wednesday and Danny DeKeyser‘s for Thursday.
GM Ken Holland would prefer to avoid the hearings, which can sometimes result in hurt feelings.
“I think a negotiated settlement is always better than having an arbitrated settlement,” Holland told MLive.com. “Obviously, both sides run (the risk) of somebody’s not going to be happy.”
That being said, in Mrazek’s case, the two sides still have a ways to go. Remember that the 24-year-old netminder was excellent for most of 2015-16, but in Holland’s words, “the wheels came off a little bit in the middle of February.”
Hence, the divide:
DeKeyser, meanwhile, is more of a proven NHL commodity. He’s had three full seasons in the league. In the 26-year-old defenseman, the Red Wings pretty much know what they’ve got.
“There’s way more comparables, I think, in Dan DeKeyser‘s case so it was easier to figure out what was the market place,” said Holland. “That’s certainly not the case of Petr Mrazek’s situation.”
Holland’s work will not be finished once Mrazek and DeKeyser are signed. He still wants to add another defenseman, and he’s got a surplus of forwards to work with.
Related: Holland makes argument to keep Jimmy Howard
The Flyers won’t require today’s scheduled arbitration hearing with Brayden Schenn. They’ve agreed to terms with the 24-year-old forward on a four-year contract with a reported cap hit of $5.125 million.
Schenn had a career-high 26 goals and 33 assists in 2015-16. His 59 points were the third most on the Flyers, behind only Claude Giroux‘s 67 and Wayne Simmonds‘ 60.
The Schenn signing leaves the Flyers with just over $1 million in cap space for 2016-17, but no major free agents remaining. RFA defenseman Brandon Manning still needs a contract, but that’s it, per General Fanager. Manning has an arbitration hearing scheduled for Aug. 2.
Related: Coyotes sign Luke Schenn