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Examining GM John Chayka’s draft history round by round

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With the draft approaching we look at every pick the Coyotes have had since General Manager John Chayka has taken over.

2016 NHL Draft - Round One Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

On Tuesday, we looked at the likelihood of General Manager John Chayka trading the Arizona Coyotes’ first-round pick. Chayka has made deals in the past with first-round picks so it seems like it’s at least a possibility — especially if the team is looking to improve right away. Today, we are going to go round by round and see what the Coyotes have drafted recently and see if there are any trends to be seen.

Below are the the picks that Arizona has at the upcoming draft:

First-Round - 14

Second-Round - 45

Third-Round - 74, 76

Fourth-Round - 107

Fifth-Round - N/A

Sixth-Round - 174, 176

Seventh-Round - 200

Now to the history...

First-Round

Picks: 2016 - Clayton Keller (C), Jakob Chychrun (D); 2017 - Pierre-Olivier Joseph (D); 2018 - Barrett Hayton (C)

Of Chayka’s four first-round picks, two have already seen NHL ice which is definitely a good thing. Interesting to note that the two forwards were drafted in the first 10 while the two defensemen came at 16th (Chychrun) and 23rd (Joseph) overall. That seems like a crazy coincidence, but there is a very small possibility the team thinks defensemen later in the round are a safer bet. But considering the team went with Hayton over another forward, Filip Zadina, in 2018 it points more to a drafting philosophy of getting the best player available than drafting based off needs.

Second-Round

Picks: 2017 - Filip Westerlund (D); 2018 - Kevin Bahl (D)

In 2016 the Arizona Coyotes started the draft with two second-round picks. They would trade them both. They sent a pick to Detroit as part of the deal that allowed them to move up and draft Chychrun and they would send the other to Tampa Bay for Tony DeAngelo. They would also trade picks with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2017 as well as trading away and acquiring a second-round pick in 2018. The Coyotes still have their second-round pick for the upcoming 2019 draft, so GM Chayka still has some time to make some moves with it. And although facing a small sample size, Chayka has yet to draft a forward in the second-round.

Third-Round

Picks: 2016 - Cam Dineen (D); 2017 - MacKenzie Entwistle (RW), Nate Schnarr (C), Cameron Crotty (D); 2018 - Jan Jenik (RW), Ty Emberson (D)

Three picks in one round remains the most that Chayka has drafted, and there seems to be a decent mix of forwards and defensemen. None of these players have played in an NHL game, but with Dineen playing in Tucson last season, he may be one of the closest. Nate Schnarr had a big last season in the OHL, finishing 34-68-102 in 65 games so he may be one to watch in Tucson next season if he doesn’t make the final roster. MacKenzie Entwistle is the first player on this list to no longer be with the organization, having been included in the package sent to the Chicago Blackhawks to acquire Vinnie Hinostroza, Jordan Oesterle, Marian Hossa and Chicago’s third-round pick in the upcoming draft.

Fourth-Round

Picks: 2017 - Noel Hoefenmayor (D); 2018 - Ivan Prosvetov (G)

Like the second-round Chayka hasn’t had many chances to draft in the fourth-round, and this time both times were with another team’s pick. The fourth-round is also the highest the Coyotes have drafted a goaltender in the past three seasons, a trend that likely will continue as Arizona has pretty solid goaltending depth (As reported, Hunter Miska was not extended an offer as a result of said depth).

Fifth-Round

Picks: 2017 - Michael Karow (D), Tyler Steenbergen (C); 2018 - Michael Callahan (D), Dennis Busby (D)

Probably the biggest thing that Chayka has done with a fifth-round pick doesn’t appear on this list. Arizona would send their fifth-round pick to the Dallas Stars in exchange for defenseman Alex Goligoski, who the team would then re-sign. Chayka seems to have found a lot of defensemen in the fifth-round, although the lone forward Steenbergen, is the only one to progress to the AHL (Karow and Callahan played NCAA, Busby returned to his junior squad). As of this writing, the Coyotes do not have their fifth-round pick having traded it as part of the package that brought Vinnie Hinostroza, Jordan Oesterle, Marian Hossa’s cap it, and a third-round pick in the upcoming draft.

Sixth-Round

Picks: 2016 - Patrick Kudla (D); 2018 - David Tendeck (G)

Another round that Arizona got to skip one year. They used their 2017 sixth-round pick in 2016 along with forward Maxim Letunov to acquire a fourth-round pick in 2016 and a third-round pick in 2017 which would be used on MacKenzie Entwistle. Like the second-round, it appears that Chayka values the sixth-round pick as an asset to be moved. That being said, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Coyotes have already traded their sixth-round pick at the upcoming draft, and acquired two more.

Seventh-Round

Picks: 2016 - Dean Stewart (D); 2017 - Erik Walli-Walterholm (RW); 2018 - Liam Kirk (LW)

When you get to the seventh-round, the chances that a player will end up playing in the NHL are pretty slim. Of the seven rounds only three have seen Chayka draft multiple forwards, and there doesn’t seem to be a preference in position by the end.

A couple of trends really stick out when looking at the Coyotes’ draft history under General Manager Chayka:

The team seems to like moving second, fifth, and sixth-round picks for one, and they are willing to make those trades at the draft.

They also have primarily selected defensemen, with 13 of their 23 picks selecting defensemen, a trend that may reverse this draft. Since Arizona has filled their prospect pipeline with defensemen it seems plausible that they will shift towards getting more forwards for this draft.

Goaltenders also seem to be pretty low on the priority list, although the Coyotes’ goalie prospects are pretty solid so that makes sense.

Finally it does appear that the team puts stock in drafting the best player available rather then filling a need —Hayton over Zadina is a big example of this — but, considering the team has struggled to generate offense for a while, they have drafted a lot of defensemen.

What are your thoughts on how the Coyotes have drafted since John Chayka took over as General Manager? Do you think the team will draft more forwards this time around? Feel free to comment to below.