The Coyotes would ‘love a franchise player,’ but tanking is not in their ‘DNA’

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Remember the Pittsburgh Penguins before they drafted Sidney Crosby first overall in 2005? Terrible team on the ice? Couldn’t draw flies? Stuck in an old outdated arena and in danger of moving?

And what about the Washington Capitals before Alex Ovechkin was selected first overall in 2004? The local hockey team, in case you’d forgotten, was a complete afterthought in D.C. Heck, when they made it to the Stanley Cup Final in 1998, their own rink was half Red Wings fans.

The Arizona Coyotes — if ever there was a franchise that could use a boost, after all the damage that’s been done to its brand the past few years — don’t need to be told how much Crosby and Ovechkin have contributed to the Penguins’ and Capitals’ on- and off-ice success, respectively.

Still, even with potential franchise-changing players like Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel up for grabs in this summer’s draft, GM Don Maloney has no plans to tank.

“I don’t think that’s something I would ever accept under any circumstance,” Maloney said, per FOX Sports Arizona. “Tanking is not in [coach Dave Tippett’s] DNA, it’s not in my DNA, it’s not in ownership’s DNA and it’s not in the players’ DNA.

“Just that idea destroys the whole credibility of an organization. We would all love a franchise player — or two or three — but that’s not how you go about it. … The only way you breed a winning culture is by going into every game looking to win.”

They might end up with a franchise player anyway. The Coyotes (9-11-3) are currently well back of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Barring a comeback, they’ll have at least a 1 percent chance of winning the draft lottery and picking first overall.

It just won’t be intentional.

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