The Arizona Coyotes made a major move sending Martin Hanzal and Ryan White to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for three draft choices. But they also acquired a forward in the process: minor leaguer Grayson Downing.
So who is Grayson? And what does he bring to the Coyotes?
Meet Grayson Downing
Downing is a native of Abbotsford, British Columbia. He plied his trade for four seasons at the University of New Hampshire before signing as an undrafted free agent with the Wild in 2015. While at UNH, Downing scored 56 goals and 56 assists in 144 games.
While with Minnesota’s American Hockey League affiliate - the aptly named Iowa Wild - Downing showed off his scoring touch; he scored 19 goals and had 21 assists for an AHL club where nobody recorded more than 42 points.
This season, Downing has seven goals and 14 assists in 46 games, which is off his pace last season. Here’s what Hockey Wilderness - our Minneosta Wild friends here at SB Nation - had to say about Downing at the beginning of the year.
The six-foot, 192-pound pivot made an immediate impact with his skill and offensive ingenuity, resulting in five goals and five assists in his first 11 appearances. By the end of the season he was leading the Iowa Wild in points per game with 0.71 and power play goals with six.
Like most undrafted forwards, he’s not perfect, and still has a lot to work on:
While there is plenty to like about Downing, Flahr also highlighted the things that he needs to improve upon. “He’s going to need to get stronger, although part of that is the health issues maybe. I think he has the skill level and the head for the game to be able to play in the NHL. Whether he’s strong enough or fast enough, we’ll see.
So Downing will also join Jeremy Morin on the Tucson Roadrunners as the Coyotes are likely to make multiple call-ups in the coming days to fill roster gaps. But Downing’s addition to the organization reflects a trend with General Manager John Chayka to prioritize skill over size in finding younger players.