Don Maloney has become legendary among Coyotes nation for pulling obscure players out of other teams for practically nothing and getting incredible production in return, from Lee Stempniak to Michal Rozsival to Antoine Vermette.
But Don Maloney's greatest trick might have been drafting Christian Dvorak of the London Knights 58th overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
Dvorak was a risky selection, as his first OHL season had gone anything but smoothly. He skated in just 33 games, recorded just six goals and eight assists, and had a season ending knee injury of January 2014. That kind of production was not befitting of an undrafted free agent, let alone a 2nd round draft pick.
But circumstances conspired to allow Don Maloney to take a chance. The Coyotes received an extra 2nd round draft pick from Chicago (a team, incidentally enough, that played their home games 37 miles away from Dvorak's hometown: Frankfort, Illinois) in exchange for defenseman David Rundblad.
Additionally, Arizona had used its first round draft selection the year before to choose fellow London Knight Max Domi. This meant that Maloney and his development staff already were familiar with the Knights' roster, and had undoubtedly seen Dvorak play on occasions while monitoring the progress of their young center.
Eight months after drafting Dvorak, Don Maloney looks like a genius. Dvorak is now an assistant captain with the Knights, and has put up a staggering 35 goals and 58 assists in 50 OHL games. His 93 points are second on the team only to Mitchell Marner (another forward the Coyotes may have the chance to draft this year). Dvorak has become an offensive juggernaut in major-junior.
It's possible that Dvorak's skills do not translate to the NHL. Dvorak turned 19 years old exactly one week ago today, which means there's plenty of growing to do. But if Dvorak does in fact become a top six forward for Arizona, it may be because of a tremendous bit of luck and foresight on the part of Don Maloney and the Coyotes scouting staff.