Former-General Manager John Chayka liked to make draft-day deals. The Coyotes had previously acquired Chicago’s third-round pick in the deal that brought in Marian Hossa’s contract and Vinnie Hinostroza and Jordan Oesterle and that pick was sent to the Pittsburgh Penguins. In exchange for that pick, the Penguins sent the Coyotes Tampa Bay’s fifth-round and seventh-round pick and the Buffalo Sabre’s fourth-round pick. The Coyotes used Buffalo’s pick to draft Turku, Finland native Matias Maccelli.
20/21 League: Liiga (Ilves)
Games played: 19
Highest rating: 12
Lowest rating: 13
Maccelli is another very interesting prospect for the Coyotes. Drafted by the Coyotes in the fourth round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Maccelli had spent the past two seasons in the USHL with the Dubuque Fighting Saints. After being drafted he elected to go back to Finland and spend the season with Ilves and play in the World Juniors.
Since being drafted Maccelli’s stock has gone up. At one point he was scoring at a point-a-game rate in Liiga although that pace did start slow. He was also given an “A” by Finland for the World Juniors and he finished fourth on the team in points.
His play this past season has earned him a lot of praise from professionals. Scott Wheeler ranked him as the Coyotes’ second-best prospect saying he has second-line potential, while Corey Pronman said ”[h]e is a smart playmaker who can create chances at the NHL level with his vision.” It also seems pretty universally agreed he was one of the top players in Liiga, Finland’s top league.
Like many other younger players, Maccelli has been playing in Europe while Covid-19 shuts down hockey. Unlike most other players that announcement was made back in July, and he may be spending the full season there. It had previously looked like he was going to be with the Tucson Roadrunners, and it is unknown if that has changed.
Maccelli’s stock has really shot up since being drafted by the Coyotes in the fourth round. His play at the World Juniors and a season in a different league has shown that he may be further along in his development than people initially thought. Historically, the Coyotes have had so few big hits at the draft, but Maccelli is promising.
If Maccelli continues to develop at this pace, he was a steal for the Coyotes in the fourth round. There are some concerns with Maccelli, his foot speed and skating frequently come up, but at this point, it looks more like a question of when Maccelli will make the NHL, not if.