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The Desert Dog Blog: Coyotes Making Final Preparations for Draft

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes
SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The Coyotes’ brain trust is making its final preparations this morning for the first round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft later today.

Barring a change via trade, the Coyotes will pick 20th in the first round, which begins at 4 p.m. (Arizona time) on Versus. Rounds 2-7 are Saturday.

Dave Vest
Twitter: davest4yotes
The team’s scouting department has compiled a list of the players it likes but a few tweaks in the later rounds of the draft are still being discussed, Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving said.

Aside from tweaking their list, the Coyotes are getting ready for potential twists and turns that could define this year’s draft.

“A lot of today is preparing for different scenarios,” Treliving told me during a break in a staff meeting. “When talking to the teams over the course of the last few weeks you get a little sense of who may be trying to do what, and if certain things happen we want to be prepared to react to them.”

• Click here to listen to a full interview with Treliving on Friday morning.

Regarding the 20th pick, Treliving said the Coyotes are confident they can draft a quality player with it. However, he did not rule out trading the pick if the right deal evolves.

The Coyotes will be watching which centers are drafted in the first round very carefully.

“We’d like to add a center, but if we get to (No.) 20 and the best player is at a position other than center and there’s a separation between that player and the next best center on the board, we’ll be taking the best player,” Treliving said.

• Click here to see a list of the top centers in this draft.

General Manager Don Maloney and Treliving have interviewed a dozen draft hopefuls this week in Minnesota, and they planned to meet with two more before heading from the team hotel to the Xcel Energy Center for the draft. Treliving also said he and Maloney would squeeze in some contract negotiations with some player agents before the draft begins.

“It will be a busy day,” he said.

Ditto on Saturday when Rounds 2-7 are played out.

The Coyotes came to Minnesota earlier this week with eight picks in this draft but gained a ninth on Thursday – a third rounder, No. 84 overall – as compensation after the Philadelphia Flyers signed former Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. Phoenix traded its rights to Bryzgalov to the Flyers earlier this month.

The Edmonton Oilers have the first pick in today’s first round. They are expected to take center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

• Click here to see the order of selection for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
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