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How well have the Arizona Coyotes drafted in the first two rounds?

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Not well, unfortunately.

Remember him? No? That's part of the problem.
Remember him? No? That's part of the problem.
Craig Melvin/Getty Images

In today's NHL, the Draft is the key to long-term success. The Chicago Blackhawks built their championship teams around draft picks Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Corey Crawford. The Los Angeles Kings won two championships with Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty, and Jonathan Quick.

The Arizona Coyotes - if they are going to have any chance to win a Cup of their own - will need to tread the same path. Unfortunately, their forays into the NHL draft since 2000 have not exactly been pretty.

The First Round

It goes without saying that the first round is "can't miss" territory. With the highest skilled players available at every position, teams typically have access to more information about these more heavily scrutinized players than others in the Draft.

For the Coyotes, General Manager Don Maloney's arrival in Spring of 2007 put a definitive stop to a horrifyingly bad half a decade of draft selections in the first round by Arizona. Take a look at the games played and points produced of every first round draft choice from 2000 to 2015.

Coyotes 1st Rounders

If you're trying to remember who the Coyotes picked in the first round going back to 2000, here's a handy table:

Draft Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Player(s) Krys Kolanos Fredrik Sjostrom

Jakub Koreis*,

Ben Eager*

None Blake Wheeler* Martin Hanzal

Peter Mueller,

Chris Summers

Kyle Turris,

Nick Ross*

Mikkel Boedker,

Viktor Tikhonov

Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Brandon Gormley,

Mark Visentin

Connor Murphy Henrik Samuelsson Max Domi Brendan Perlini
Draft Spot 19th 11th 19th & 23rd N/A 5th 17th 8th & 29th 3rd & 30th 8th & 28th 6th 13th & 27th 20th 27th 12th 12th

*Never played for the Coyotes  **Has yet to make NHL Debut

For all the hand-wringing about Martin Hanzal's health, the Czech center has far and away been the most successful pick the Coyotes have made in the first round thus far. He follows a pretty disastrous string of first round choices, including a three year dry period.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson will likely surpass Hanzal, and the sky seems to be the limit on players like Max Domi and Brendan Perlini, but Arizona has thus far struggled to find that all-NHL player who forms the cornerstone of the franchise for many years to come. And the one player that fits that description only came about in 2009.

The Second Round

Even if a team strikes gold multiple times in the first round, it takes depth success to make a powerhouse. The Edmonton Oilers have not finished better than 4th in their division since making the Stanley Cup Final in 2006, despite selecting seven players in the Top Ten in that stretch.

The second round of the Draft is less likely to yield NHL players than the first, but even here successful teams find useful contributors such as Milan Lucic, Brandon Saad, Tomas Tatar, and Tyler Toffoli.

Much like the first round however, the Coyotes have never really found a diamond in the rough in the second round. Or even cubic zirconium in the rough really:

Coyotes 2nd Rounders

See how many of these names you remember:

Draft Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Player Alexander Tatarinov*

Matthew Spiller,

Martin Podlesak*

David LeNeveu None

Logan Stephenson*,

Enver Lisin

Pier-Oliver Pelletier* None

Brett MacLean,

Joel Gistedt

Jared Staal Chris Brown

Phil Lane*,

Oscar Lindberg*

Alexander Ruuttu*,

Lucas Lessio

Jordan Martinook Laurent Dauphin**

Ryan MacInnis**,

Christian Dvorak**

Draft Spot 53rd 31st & 45th 46th N/A 35th & 50th 59th N/A 32nd & 36th 49th 36th 52nd & 57th 51st & 56th 58th 39th 43rd & 58th

*Never played for the Coyotes  **Has yet to make NHL Debut

The most successful NHL career of anybody the Coyotes have drafted in the second round since 2000 has been Enver Lisin, whose time in the league lasted one more season with the Rangers after being traded from Arizona for Lauri Korpikoski.

On the other hand, players like Lessio and Martinook have looked decent in short stretches in the NHL thus far. And Christian Dvorak may very well have gone in the first round were it not for an unfortunate injury in his draft season.

Still, the Coyotes got more games from Frederik Sjostrom (261) and more points from Kyle Turris (46) than they have from their entire second round (221 & 38, respectively). Sure, you aren't going to hit a home run with every pick in the second round, but it'd be nice to get on base every now and then.

Final Thoughts

For a budget team like the Arizona Coyotes, not being able to consistently draft talent in the early rounds hurts. Sure, the team has benefited from late-round picks like Michael Stone (3rd round), Keith Yandle (4th round) and Daniel Winnik (9th round). But that's not enough to keep a team in playoff contention year-in and year-out.

Overall, Don Maloney seems to have been better at drafting than his predecessors. Nevertheless, how his recent crop of first and second round picks perform over the next few years will go a long way towards determining how long Maloney has control of the ship.