While the focus surrounding the Coyotes has shifted to its battle with the City of Glendale over the arena lease deal, the team has what could prove to be a defining day for the franchise coming up. After finishing the 2014-15 campaign with just 56 points, Arizona is going into the draft with six of the first 81 picks, including the third overall.
As highly regarded as this draft is, this is an opportunity for the Coyotes to significantly bolster its prospects pool, but Coyotes GM Don Maloney might also try to use some of those picks to acquire more immediate help.
“We’ve got two firsts, two seconds, two thirds. We have two firsts next year. We have lots of good assets that we can use to better our team and we’re certainly not against using it in the right deal,” Maloney told Fox Sports.
He also expressed a willingness to trade down from the third overall pick, although it would likely be a matter of a few spots as opposed to him trading to the 10th of 13th position.
Maloney has raised the possibility of moving picks before, but he might be even more incentivized to execute trades now. The fight with Glendale has once again made the Coyotes’ future uncertain and it comes at a very bad time because Arizona needs to spend around $19 million just to reach the floor, based on a $71 million cap, per General Fanager.
So while they have to spend money, free agents might be reluctant to agree to terms with the Coyotes if that matter isn’t resolved before July 1. Arizona could still presumably lure some players over, but it might have to resort to paying over market value for players that aren’t in as high demand. With that in mind, it might make more sense to acquire the veteran talent the team needs through trades, especially seeing as there are franchises looking to shed salary.
Whatever happens, Maloney anticipates that it will take place on the draft floor.