Coyotes 2001 Draft Preview

By Brandon LeBourveau

The Phoenix Coyotes head into the 2001 Entry Draft with a lot of questions about their franchise that need to be answered. Will the Coyotes finally deal Robert Reichel and Mikael Renberg? Will Jeremy Roenick leave the franchise via free agency? Is Cliff Fletcher the right GM for this team? Etc. The list goes on. The Coyotes have been one of the more active teams in trading players and signing players over the last couple of months, as all-star netminder Nikolai Khabibulin was dished off for a package of youngsters as was all-star Keith Tkachuk. Add in the signing of big defenseman Martin Grenier, and all of a sudden the Coyotes have a solid group of young players and prospects. The Coyotes will look to strengthen their prospect pool at the Entry Draft, as the team holds the 14th overall selection (1st Round), and the 31st overall (from Islanders via Tampa Bay) and 45th overall (compensation for not signing Scott Kelman) selections, which are both 2nd rounders.

With three picks in the top 45 in an extremely deep draft, the Coyotes have the ability to add three top notch NHL players to their organization, pending upon whether they have scouted and drafted the right players. They could have also had the 24th and 44th overall picks, but New Jersey opted to take the Blues pick this year in the Scott Stevens case, so the Coyotes will get the Blues 1st rounder next year. Phoenix dealt the 44th pick to the Florida Panthers for Todd Simpson at the trade deadline. They might get a couple of other high picks, pending on whether the team trades the rights to Robert Reichel and Mikael Renberg, who both played in Europe this past season. Without the trades of Reichel and Renberg, the Coyotes could have had 5 picks in the top 45, including 2 1st rounders.