GLENDALE – OK, so the 2011-12 NHL season is officially over and the focus now shifts to the busy off-season.
Before proceeding, I’d like to congratulate the LA Kings on winning the Stanley Cup, with a special shout-out to Kings Assistant Equipment Manager Denver Wilson, the son of Coyotes Head Equipment Manager Stan Wilson. Congrats Denver, enjoy the ride!
|Shane Doan |
Next up for the League is the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 20. For those Coyotes fans who haven’t heard, captain Shane Doan is one of three finalists for this year’s Mark Messier Leadership Award, which will be presented that night as part of the show. LA’s Dustin Brown and Ryan Callahan of the New York Rangers are the other finalists for the award, which is presented annually by Bridgestone to the player who leads by positive example through on-ice performance, motivation of team members and a dedication to community activities and charitable causes.
Fans can watch the show live on NBC Sports Network starting at 4 p.m. (AZ time). Actors/hockey fans Vince Vaughn and Matthew Perry are among those scheduled to present awards that night.
► Click here to read more about Doan’s nomination.
Regarding Doan, has everyone heard the story about how the makers of Skittles candy sent him a hockey stick covered with Skittles as a reward for his great season?
Recently I had a chance to speak with Doan about his new stick.
“I never thought I’d ever be holding a stick top to bottom made of Skittles,” Doan told me. “I enjoy Skittles. They taste very good. But I'm not an avid consumer of Skittles. My kids enjoy Skittles. That was probably bigger for me, as my kids like going to the movies and kids like eating Skittles at the movies. So I thought it'd be pretty cool for them, to show them a stick made of them.”
► Click here to watch Doan speak about his Skittles stick.
After the NHL Awards, the League’s attention quickly will turn to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh on June 22-23. I’m looking forward to once again attending the draft and providing exclusive, in-depth coverage for phoenixcoyotes.com, which will begin previewing the draft early next week. For now, I invite draft enthusiasts to click here to visit NHL.com’s draft preview site.
The first round of the draft is set for Friday, June 22. Rounds 2-7 are Saturday, June 23. As of this writing, the Coyotes will have one pick on Friday and eight picks on Saturday:
First round – No. 27
Second round – No. 58
Third round – No. 81
Third round – No. 88
Fourth round – No. 102
Fifth round – No 148
Sixth round – No. 178
Seventh round – No. 184
Seventh round – No. 208
As noted above, the Coyotes have the 27th overall pick. Phoenix hasn’t made its first pick that late in a draft since 2003 when it didn’t make its first selection until the third round - the 77th overall pick (Tyler Redenbach).
Here are some notable 27th overall selections in NHL Entry Draft history:
• Scott Gomez, by New Jersey (1998)
• Steve Staios, by St. Louis (1991)
• Tie Domi, by Toronto (1988)
• Joe Nieuwendyk, by Calgary (1985)
• Scott Mellanby, by Philadelphia (1984)
After the draft, the NHL will quickly shift into free-agency mode on July 1. As of today, the Coyotes have six players who, if they aren'tt re-signed by the team in June, will become unrestricted free agents. They are: Doan, Ray Whitney, Adrian Aucoin, Michal Rozsival, Taylor Pyatt and Daymond Langkow. Meanwhile, three other players – Kyle Chipchura, Gilbert Brule and Chris Summers – are set to become restricted free agents on July 1.
FYI, Coyotes Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving will be answering questions from fans via a live web chat on Friday, June 15 from noon until 1 p.m. (AZ time) at phoenixcoyotes.com. Feel free to log in to the chat and ask him a question about the playoffs, the upcoming draft, free agency, etc.
► Click here to set a reminder for the chat.
I will end this blog by inviting Coyotes fans to follow the team’s official Twitter account, which is @phoenixcoyotes. It’s a great way to keep track of the team during the summer months, especially during the draft as the team makes its picks.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Contact Dave Vest at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @davest4yotes.