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.
“Costly victories” may have been one of the themes of Saturday night, as some teams paired impressive wins with worrisome injuries.
The good news is that, in each case, it appears that the early word is optimistic about those players (Tyler Seguin got stitched up in the Stars’ win, for example).
The Anaheim Ducks are reportedly readying to recall Anton Khudobin on Sunday after John Gibson suffered an upper-body injury during a collision with Chicago Blackhawks forward Richard Panik.
Again, so far the hope/expectation is that this might not be a major issue:
The pessimistic take would be to wonder “Uh oh, is the Ducks goalie carousel starting again?”
Frederik Andersen has seen some runs as Anaheim’s No. 1 guy, so maybe this issue is a reminder that the Ducks may be better off keeping both Gibson and Andersen around … at least while they can.
For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”
They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:
- Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
- This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
- By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.
Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).
Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.
Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.
The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.
(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)
Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)
You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:
It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.
Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:
Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).
If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.
You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.
The pain goes beyond that … literally so.
For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.
(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)
The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.
Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.