GLENDALE – The 2015 NHL Entry Draft is more than two weeks away and yet Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney already is getting phone calls from other teams regarding Arizona’s willingness to deal the third overalll pick in the first round.
"It's interesting, this draft, because if you think about it, the first two picks are a lay up," Maloney said Tuesday during a press conference at Gila River Arena. "Even I can’t mess that up. But intrigue starts in the third pick, and that's our pick, and that's what makes it exciting for us."
|Don Maloney. Photo by Getty Images. |
Forwards Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel are expected to be selected first and second by Edmonton and Buffalo, respectively, when the NHL Draft begins on June 26. Then it will be Arizona’s turn to select a player – unless a trade with another team for the pick is made.
"I was approached by three teams … asking me what would it take to get that pick," Maloney said. "I'm like, 'first-born, second-born, maybe I could use a helicopter to take me to work.' That would certainly get us to start thinking about it."
Jokes aside, Maloney hasn’t ruled out trading the third overall pick to move down in the draft.
"Those deals start being discussed now, and they end up, if there's a deal there, it'll be on the draft floor," Maloney said. "The idea that we're going to trade that pick outright for a player to help us next year, I think that's remote, but you never know. It's probably more likely we trade down if we don't take the pick. So we'll see."
He added: “We know we have a team next year we have to put on the ice. We have holes. Nobody is going to give us good players without giving up something, and that's why we are certainly open for business, whether it's the Chicago pick (29th or 30th overall), our pick in the second round. We've got two firsts, two seconds, two thirds. We have two firsts next year. We have lots of good assets that we can use to better our team and we're certainly not against using it in the right deal, keeping in mind that our long-term goal is to have a championship here in Arizona."
|Don Maloney. Photo by Norm Hall. |
Maloney spent last week at the 2015 NHL Combine in Buffalo evaluating draft prospects and conducting interviews with approximately 75 of them. He said he and his staff took three or four of the players out for dinner to get to know them even better.
The Coyotes are slated to make eight picks in the 2015 NHL Draft, including six of the first 81 selections. That's a nice table setting for a team looking to quickly rebuild.
"Dave Tippett and I have spent a lot of time looking at our organization, our roster, our prospects, our staff, and trying to figure out how we can make this work," Maloney said. "We know obviously last season did not go the way we certainly expected, but we've worked in conjunction with ownership to get a budget that we can work with, that we think we can come out and certainly get back and be a competitive team, compete for a playoff spot as we grow the franchise."
John Chayka, the team’s new Assistant General Manager/Analytics, also was in Buffalo helping Maloney and his staff prepare for the Draft.
"He's a very interesting person," Maloney said. "We're thrilled to have him. I think he's going to touch all the different areas of our organization from certainly player evaluation, minor league player evaluation, draft preparation, coaching support wherever it's needed. It's important that he have a title that's reflective of his value in the organization, so we're happy to have him."