There won't be any more Czech-on-Czech violence next year as Z is coming back to the Valley! Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USPRESSWIRE
Usually, the Phoenix Coyotes aren't making their first selection of the NHL Entry Draft terribly late in the round - even over the last few playoff years, the Coyotes have acquired fairly high picks that have allowed players like Brandon Gormley to join the system. This year the Coyotes were picking the latest they have since 2003 when the team didn't pick until the 71st overall pick in the 3rd round.
However, regardless of the late pick, it was what the Coyotes did even later than picking Henrik Samuelsson with the 27th pick that will have people buzzing in the morning. The Coyotes brought back fan favorite (or maybe just @Yotesgurl's favorite) d-man Zbynek Michalek from his two-year Pittsburgh holiday. The price tag for GMDM, prospects Harrison Ruopp (D) and Marc Cheverie (G) and the 81st pick in this year's draft (acquired from Philadelphia for the Ilya Bryzgalov rights). Not nearly the rumored Keith Yandle haul for the Pens, who are clearly just clearing cap space to make a run at Zach Parise after they also traded Jordan Staal earlier in the day.
What does this mean for the Coyotes - it means that they don't need to look to bring back Michal Rozsival to shore up the back end or if Adrian Aucoin wants to hang them up, the Coyotes can let that happen too. Z had a rough year in Pittsburgh battling some injuries, but he still led the team in shots blocked with 144. He's a steady stay-at-home and protect the house type of guy that can cover back for Yandle or Oliver Ekman-Larsson when they want to join the rush. He's still pretty young at 29 and he's signed for three more years at a fairly reasonable $4 million/season. It gives the Coyotes 7 d-men under contract and a pretty solid back end with Z, Yandle, OEL, Derek Morris, Rostislav Klesla, Michael Stone and David Schlemko. There are also plenty of prospects in the minors including the aforementioned Gormley and Maxim Goncharov.
As for Samuelsson, he grew up in Scottsdale and is the youngest son of former Coyotes associate coach Ulf Samuelsson. He's a big kid and while his skating will need to improve, he's considered a pretty solid forward prospect comparable to a Tomas Holmstrom-esque player. At 6-2, 211 he has pretty good size and hopefully can continue to develop his game while playing in Edmonton with the Oil Kings.
While it's not a complete overhaul of the team and the need for an offensive spark plug still exists, there's nothing to complain about through day 1 of the NHL draft in my eyes with the Samuelsson pick and bringing back a very talented, popular d-man in Michalek to shore up an already pretty solid blue line.