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by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes




GLENDALE, ARIZONA - The Phoenix Coyotes today selected center Peter Mueller (8th overall) and defenseman Chris Summers (29th overall) in the first round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver, British Columbia.  The picks were the first of eight selections for the Coyotes in the draft.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Mueller registered 26 goals, 32 assists, 58 points, and 44 penalty minutes (PIM) in 52 games with Everett of the Western Hockey League (WHL) last season.  For his performance, Mueller, 18, was named the 2005-06 WHL Rookie of the Year.  He ranked 3rd in rookie scoring in the WHL and was the only rookie to average over a point per game.  The Bloomington, Minnesota native was rated by NHL Central Scouting as the No. 6 North American skater available in this year's draft.

Mueller was the youngest member for Team USA at the 2006 World Junior Championships and recorded 2 goals, 4 assists, 6 points and 26 PIM in 7 games.  He ranked T-4th on Team USA in scoring in the tournament.  Mueller also tallied 4 goals, 3 assists, and 7 points as well as 20 PIM in 6 games at the 2005 Under-18 World Junior Championships to finish 2nd on Team USA in scoring.  In addition, the forward played in the 2006 Top Prospects game in Ottawa, serving as captain for Team Cherry.

Mueller was a high school teammate of the Coyotes' 2004 first round draft selection (5th overall) Blake Wheeler at Breck High School in Minnesota in 2002-03.

The Coyotes made a trade late in the first round of the draft, acquiring Detroit's 1st round choice (29th overall) and 5th round selection (152nd overall) for the Coyotes' two 2nd round picks (41st and 47th overall). 

The Coyotes used the 29th overall selection to draft Summers.  A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Summers registered 5 goals, 10 assists, 15 points and 56 PIM in 51 games for the U.S. Under-18 National Development team in 2005-06.  Summers helped lead Team USA to a gold medal at the 2006 Under-18 World Junior Championships.  The 6-1, 180-pounder registered 1 goal and a plus/minus rating of +5 as well as a team-leading 37 PIM while playing forward in the tournament.  He scored the game-winning goal in the gold medal contest - a 3-1 victory for Team USA over Finland.  Summers, 18, is expected to attend the University of Michigan in the fall where he will be a teammate of Coyotes' prospects Kevin Porter and Chad Kolarik.

The Coyotes drafted defenseman Jonas Ahnelov in the 3rd round with the 88th overall selection.  The Coyotes acquired the pick from the New York Islanders in exchange for two 4th round choices (115th and 119th overall) on Saturday.  Ahnelov, 17, recorded 6 goals, 15 assists, and 21 goals with 106 PIM in 36 games for Frolunda Jr. of the Swedish Junior League last season.  The 6-3, 205-pound native of Huddinge, Sweden also played 15 games for Frolunda in the Swedish Elite League, but did not figure in any scoring.  Ahnelov was ranked No. 10 among European skater in this year's draft by NHL Central Scouting.

The Coyotes selected goaltender Brett Bennett with the 130th overall pick - the team's first of three 5th round choices. Bennett, 18, collected a 1.26 goals against average (GAA) and .960 save percentage (SV%) in 5 games for the U.S. Under-18 National Development team last season.  The 6-1, 186 pound native of Buffalo, New York was 2-0-0 with 0.50 GAA and .969 SV% for Team USA at the 2006 Under-18 World Junior Championships.

With the 131st overall selection, the Coyotes chose 18-year-old right wing Martin Latal.  The Olomouc, Czech Republic native posted 16 goals among 26 points with 64 PIM in 30 games for Kladno of the Czech Junior League in 2005-06.   NHL Central Scouting ranked the 5-11, 174-pound Latal No. 21 among European skaters in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. 

With their final choice of the 5th round, the Coyotes selected defenseman Jordan Bendfeld with the 152nd overall pick.  The 6-2, 216-pound native of Leduc, Alberta registered 2 goals, 10 assists, and 12 points in 65 games for Medicine Hat of the WHL in 2005-06 - his second campaign with the club.  Bendfeld, 18, ranked 4th on the Tigers with 92 PIM last season.  The blueliner also collected 4 assists and 27 PIM in 13 playoff games.  

The Coyotes later swapped their 6th round selection (161st overall) to Toronto in exchange for two 7th round picks (188th and 196th overall).

The Coyotes drafted defenseman Chris Frank with the 188th overall selection.  The 6-0, 213-pound native of Lynnwood, Washington recorded two goals, two assists, and four points in 38 games as a freshman at Western Michigan University (CCHA) last season.  Frank, 20, led Western Michigan with 127 PIM.

The Coyotes completed their 2006 Entry Draft by selecting center/right wing Benn Ferriero with the 196th overall pick.  Ferreiro, 19, scored 11 goals among 17 points with 28 PIM in 34 games for Boston College (Hockey East) in 2005-06.  The 5-10, 185-pound Boston, Massachusetts native ranked 3rd on the Eagles in goals and led team freshmen in goals and points.

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