In our continuing series looking back at the draft classes of the Phoenix Coyotes we today turn to the 1997 draft in which the players the team selected would play a total of 211 NHL games. (All by one player) As I told Travis over that Broad Street Hockey and Carl the other day. Want evidence that it was team mismanagement and not the market that was the cause of the Coyotes troubles? Take a look at the draft history. Goodness.
First Round - 16th Overall - Traded to Chicago
Rather than draft for the future the Coyotes chose to trade away their first round pick in order to get Jeremy Roenick. While today many a fan are soured by his second tour here in which he went out to dinner after being scratched and has recently crapped on the market a bit, his first tour here was pretty successful. All-Star game appearance, a consistent scorer and, while the Coyotes lost the series, his comeback with a broken jaw in game 7 against the Stars in the 1999 Playoffs.
Second Round - 43rd Overall - Defenseman Juha Gustafsson
Another Player that didn't play a game in North America, Gustafsson bounced around in the Finnish leagues his entire career. He mostly played with Blues Espoo of the SM-Liiga. He currently plays in the Swedish 3rd League for Tingsryda AIF
Fourth Round - 96th Overall - Defenseman Scott McCallum
McCallum played several seasons in the ECHL and CHL following his junior hockey career. He was never able to make the jump to higher leagues and seemingly retired in 2004. He now is an Assistant Coach in his hometown for the Manatoba Junior Hockey Leagues' Dauphin Kings.
Fifth Round - 123rd Overall - Defenseman Curtis Suter
Suter played for three seasons in the WHL for the Spokane Chiefs and then dropped off the map.
Sixth Round - 151st Overall - Left Wing Robert Francz
Had some time in the AHL for the Springfield Falcons who were the Coyotes AHL affilate at the time, but after Juniors with the Peterborough Petes would bounce between there and the ECHL. In 2001 he returned to his home in Germany to play for the Frankfurt Lions of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga. He retired following the 2006-2007 season.
Eighth Round - 207th Overall - Defenseman Alex Andreyev
Another pick that was never quite able to put it together, the Latvian forward would play a season in the ECHL and then three in the now defunct United Hockey League for the B.C. Icemen. He moved on to the Greenboro Generals and Elmira Jackals before leaving hockey in 2005. He was never able to score more than 9 points in a minor league season.
Ninth Round - 233rd Overall - Center Wyatt Smith
The sole player selected by the Coyotes in 1997 that actually saw NHL playing time and he was selected in the no longer existent Ninth Round. While he's spent most of his time playing in the AHL he's seen significant portions of seasons with NHL teams. He played 54 games for the Coyotes, 29 for the Nashville Predators 42 for the Islanders, 61 for the Wild and 25 for the Avalanche. To say he's bounced around a bit would be an understatement. He was signed by the Boston Bruins for the 2010-11 season but wasn't doing all that well for their AHL affiliate and was released from his contract after clearing waivers. He then went to play for the Gearman League team ERC Ingolstadt.