Another tough development for Conner Bleackley.
Bleackley, the 23rd overall pick at the 2014 draft, won’t be signed by the Coyotes, and now has the option to re-enter this year’s draft, per NHL.com.
“We’re going to take the [2nd-round] compensation pick,” Arizona GM John Chayka said. “There’s a lot of value in that pick.
“That’s not to diminish anything Conner has done or the type of player he is. He had a good Memorial Cup. He’s a good player, but at this point [the draft pick] is a more valuable asset for us.”
Bleackley, 20, had 46 points in 55 games for WHL Red Deer this season, and valiantly returned from a wrist tendon laceration to play in the Memorial Cup, scoring two points in four games.
But that’s about it, as far as recent positives go.
Upon getting drafted, Bleackley’s Red Deer coach, Brent Sutter, said the kid wasn’t ready for NHL hockey. Bleackley then arrived at his first Avs camp out of shape, and was sent packing early. Colorado balked on signing him, and shipped him to Arizona as part of the Mikkel Boedker trade at this year’s deadline.
Bleackley learned of the trade while recovering from a broken kneecap.
Two weeks after returning, he suffered the aforementioned wrist tendon laceration.
So yeah… quite the ride.
Last month, Bleackley addressed the possibility of having to go back into the draft, and seemed to be setting it up as a potential motivator.
“If [not getting signed] does happen, I think two teams would’ve made mistakes,” Bleackley said, per the Calgary Herald. “”I feel like I’ve got a lot left to give.
“A lot of people may have counted me out already, but you won’t be able to convince me otherwise until it’s all said and done.”