The Arizona Coyotes’ were busy with their second round picks for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. They should have had the 34th overall pick, but that pick was part of a trade when the Coyotes acquired Dave Bolland and Lawson Crouse. The pick they sent to the Florida Panthers was a conditional third-round pick in 2017, but it was converted to the Coyotes’ second-round pick in 2018 as Crouse played in over ten games during the 2016-17 season. Luckily the Coyotes had a second second-round pick that came from the Minnesota Wild along with Grayson Downing, a first-round pick in 2017, and a conditional fourth-round pick during the upcoming draft* in exchange for Martin Hanzal, Ryan White, and a fourth-round pick in 2017.
Arizona’s path to drafting Kevin Bahl was a long one, but has it worked out for the team?
Team: Ottawa 67 (OHL)
Regular Season Games Played: 68
Playoff Games Played: 15
Playoff Goals: 1
Playoff Assists: 10
At 6’ 6” tall and weighing in at 216 pounds, Kevin Bahl is big defenseman who knows how to use his size. Bahl found success with the Ottawa 67 in the OHL this past season, with the team winning the Bobby Orr Trophy as Eastern Conference champions and the Hamilton Spectator Trophy as regular season champions.
Bahl’s offense isn’t his main strength with most people consider him to be more of a reliable defensive defenseman. This past season he proved he is able to generate some points and he has almost twice as many points as he did the previous season (34) and six times as many goals (6). This was also his first season finishing with a positive +/-, finishing as a +50. For fans concerned with a player’s toughness he finished with a career high 87 penalty minutes and his physical play was deeply missed during the 67’s playoff run.
Any doubts that Bahl will be an NHL regular are gone and he still has his 19-year-old season in a 67’s jersey ahead of him.
“That’s a no-brainer,” said Tourigny, of Bahl’s future. “He is faster than people give him credit for. He has a good stick and has real good skills with the puck. He’s been a 25-to-27-minute guy with us all season so we do miss him back there.”
Arizona has a pretty deep pool of defensive prospects and it will be interesting to see how things play out in the next few seasons. Arizona has P.O. Joseph, Kyle Capobianco, and Cam Dineen all looking like they could see NHL ice in the next few seasons but Bahl is making a great case for jumping to the head of the line.
*The conditional fourth-round pick was later sent to Pittsburgh along with Michael Leighton in exchange for Josh Archibald, Sean Maguire, and a sixth round pick during the upcoming draft. Pittsburgh would later flip that pick to the Florida Panthers along with Derick Brassard, Riley Sheahan, a second round pick and another fourth-round pick for the upcoming 2019 draft in exchange for Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann.