Sometimes events unfold in ways completely unexpected or unforeseen, and that is exactly what happened to the Phoenix Coyotes at the 2010 NHL Draft.
With two first round picks in his back pocket, GM Don Maloney and the rest of the Coyotes management had to like their chances of getting two quality players and address some needs at the same time. A defenseman might not have exactly been what they were looking for with the 13th overall pick, but when a consensus top-six player like Brandon Gormley inexplicably falls to you, then the strategy of taking the best available player certainly comes into play.
After selecting Gormley with the 13th pick, Maloney sent his other first-round pick to Montreal in exchange for the Habs 27th and 57th picks. With several options available, the Coyotes did in fact address an organizational weakness when they selected Mark Visentin, a fine young goaltender from the OHL.
In the second round, Maloney went the forward route, selecting power forward Philip Lane at 52nd overall and needed to wait just four picks before grabbing Swedish centre-man Oscar Lindberg.
With their fifth and final pick of the draft, the Coyotes took another young North American goalie, Louis Domingue, who was Gormley’s team-mate with the Moncton Wildcats in the QMJHL.
Ranked in the top five or six for the entire season, the Coyotes could have never imagined the stand-out defenseman would get past the first few picks let alone all the way to 13. As fate would have it, that is exactly what happened and Brandon Gormley surprisingly became the newest Phoenix Coyote.
At 6’2, 185 lbs, Gormley has the size of a stay-at-home defenseman, but the 18-year-old brings much more to the table than just strong defensive play. Gormley plays an impressive all-around game, providing poise and stability on the back end. While not the flashiest of defensemen, Gormley is a good puck mover who has outstanding hockey sense and possesses an exceptional point shot. He is also an above average skater for the position.
This past season, Gormley helped lead his Moncton Wildcats to the QMJHL championship and a berth in the Memorial Cup. He was named second team all-star and was selected as the top draft-eligible prospect in the league.
Entering the draft, goaltending depth appeared to be a weakness in the Phoenix system and once Dallas took American Jack Campbell, the Coyotes were quick to pull the trigger on Mark Visentin, making him the second goalie taken in the draft.
Still just 17 years old, Visentin was considered to be one of the leaders of a young team in Niagara and credits his leadership ability to his game preparation. "Practices are huge for me. I try to bring in a great work ethic, work as hard as I can, and I think that feeds off on the other players," said Visentin in an interview with Hockey’s Future shortly after being drafted.
Apart from his strong leadership skills, Visentin is a technically sound goalie and is an extremely confident presence on and off the ice. He combines good size and athleticism with tremendous net coverage and a superb glove hand.
In the second round Don Maloney went off the board and selected Philip Lane of the Brampton Battalion. Ranked as the 96th North American skater, Lane was looked at as a developing power forward that, despite being very gifted, is still a very raw.
Lane took some time getting adjusted to his first season in the OHL but the Rochester, New York native still finished with a respectable 18 goals and 32 points, a total that ranked him ninth in the league among rookie skaters. In 11 playoff games, Lane scored three goals before the Battalion were eliminated in the second round.
A big powerful winger, Lane is a good skater with soft hands. For a power forward, he has above average vision and is a confident finisher around the net. With only one year of major junior hockey under his belt, Lane will want to bring a more consistent performance on a game-to-game basis as he enters his second season, especially now that he has the lofty expectations of being a second round draft pick.
Oscar Lindberg, C – Skelleftea Jr. (Swe-2)
2nd round, 57th overall
6’0, 187 lbs
After taking Lane, the Coyotes were quickly on the clock again with pick 57 in the second round. With a defenseman, goalie and winger already on their draft board, the organization selected center Oscar Lindberg from Sweden. Lindberg, who was the seventh ranked European skater, played in the Swedish Junior League with Skelleftea. In 30 games he registered 14 goals and 23 assists, as well as leading the league in face-off percentage for the second straight season.
Lindberg provides good size and strength down the middle and is an effective two-way center. Like many Swedish forwards he is extremely reliable in his own zone and is even more reliable in the face-off circle, winning 60 percent of his draws last year.
One knock against Lindberg is his skating ability, which is good but not great. The young Swede will be looking to improve not just his skating, but all areas of his game as he embarks on the Swedish Elite League and beyond.
With their final pick of the 2010 NHL Draft, Phoenix decided on another goalie from the CHL. Louis Domingue of the Moncton Wildcats was selected as the Coyotes 5th round choice, 138th overall.
The 18-year-old Domingue played as a backup to star overage goalie Nicola Riopel, appearing in 19 games throughout the season. Domingue compiled a 9-8-0 record with a 2.54 GAA and a 0.91 save percentage. Despite the limited playing time, Domingue’s talents did not go unnoticed and he was selected to play in the CHL Top Prospects Game.
A big goalie at 6’3, Domingue has the size and quickness to cover the net and stay square to the shooter. He is a good athlete and is very determined in goal but often allows too many rebounds.
With Riopel moving on, Domingue will now have the chance to prove that he is capable of handling a starting role for the upcoming season.