Dreams of Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel are undoubtedly circling the heads of many an Arizona Coyotes fan lately. Unfortunately, given the current position the Coyotes have in the league standings, the continued ineptitude of the Edmonton Oilers, Carolina Hurricanes, and Buffalo Sabres, and the revised odds of the NHL Draft Lottery, Arizona is unlikely to win the lottery.
However, that does not mean the draft pick the Coyotes will likely end up having is not worth keeping. There are several impact players at the top of the 2015 NHL Draft even beyond McDavid and Eichel. Here's a brief overview of some of the players general manager Don Maloney might select from come draft day.
The Draft Selections
Lawson Crouse - LW - Kingston Frontenacs - OHL
Crouse is a big guy. At 6' 4" and 212 pounds, Crouse projects a lot of size at a very young age. He also has a lot of skill and good passing ability. With 23 points in 30 games in Kingston (as well as 55 PIMs), Crouse could be a balanced physical presence with legitimate scoring flair in the mold of Shane Doan in his prime. The only downside is that he will only turn 18 this summer, which means there's a legitimate chance that Crouse would not play in the NHL in the 2015-16 season.
Dylan Strome - C - Erie Otters - OHL
Strome would have the spotlight to himself on virtually any other team in the Canadian Hockey League. Unfortunately for him, Strome plays on the same team as Connor McDavid. Even so, Strome is a legitimately skilled center with good size (6' 3", 187 lbs), deadly on the power play, and a prolific scorer in his own right, with 28 goals and 52 assists in just 43 OHL games. He is also young, and his skating still needs to improve, but Strome could very easily be the No. 1 center of the future for the Coyotes.
Mitch Marner - C - London Knights - OHL
If the Coyotes were to draft Mitch Marner, they might as well call the London Knights their CHL farm team. Marner and Domi played together in London and could generate some quick chemistry in the NHL. With quick speed and solid two-way ability, Marner could be in a great position to jump into the NHL next year. And with 34 goals and 56 assists, Marner has the potential to be an elite goal scoring center. The only knock against him is that at 5' 11" and 163 lbs, Marner is on the smaller side. But you can't put a premium of speed and skill, and Marner has both in abundance.
Noah Hanifin - D - Boston College - NCAA
Defense hardly seems like the most pressing need for the Coyotes given their struggles to score goals. But there is something to say about drafting the best player available. Hanifin has three goals and ten assists in 22 contests for Boston College, and at 6' 2" and 205 pounds, has good size. A player like Hanifin could be a good option should the Coyotes be looking for a player to replace Keith Yandle as an offensive defenseman in the Top-4.
The Coyotes might miss out on McDavid or Eichel, but there are elite prospects throughout the first round of this draft. Any of the above players could be good fits for a team entering a rebuilding prospects, and all have the potential to be elite NHL players in the near future.