Draft Situation Gets Worse for Coyotes

By Brandon LeBourveau

When the Phoenix Coyotes made the trade that sent Keith Tkachuk to the St. Louis Blues for Michal Handzus, Ladislav Nagy, prospect Jeff Taffe and the Blues 2001 1st Round pick, they knew their could be a catch.

The St. Louis Blues were punished by the NHL a few years ago for talking to Scott Stevens about a contract before he actually became a free agent. At the time, he was property of the Devils, and New Jersey filed a suit against the NHL that the Blues should be penalized, and they were. The NHL awarded the Devils the right to take one of the Blues 1st round picks in the next couple of drafts, and also the right to swap 1st round picks in another draft. Well, the Devils exercised their option to take the Blues 1st round pick this year, which the Blues originally dealt to the Phoenix Coyotes. So in this weird scenario, it turns out the Devils will actually get the Blues 1st round pick this season and the Coyotes will get the Blues 1st round pick next year, in the 2002 Entry Draft. But wait, there’s more.

The Devils still own the right to swap picks with the Blues. So even if the Blues finish in the bottom of the standings, the Coyotes won’t get that high pick because the Devils will surely swap picks, leaving the Coyotes with a late 1st round pick which is what the Devils’ pick would likely be. So no matter what, the Coyotes will likely end up with a late 1st round pick next season from the St. Louis Blues.

As for this years draft, I will be posting a draft preview sometime in mid-June in which I will analyze where the Coyotes select and what players would be perfect fits for the organization. Stay tuned!

Quick Note: The Coyotes have only 11 more days to sign Scott Kelman, as the June 1st deadline is approaching. It appears they will not sign him and I don’t even think they have talked to his agent recently. If the Coyotes let Kelman walk, which is basically a sure thing right now, they will receive the 45th overall pick in the upcoming draft as compensation for not signing the former 1st rounder. The Coyotes would then have 3 picks in the 1st two rounds of the draft, as they have their own 1st rounder (14th Overall), the Islanders 2nd rounder (32nd overall), in which they acquired in the Nikolai Khabibulin deal with Tampa Bay, and the 45th pick overall for not signing Scott Kelman. Not too shabby..