The 2019 NHL Draft gets underway this Friday in Vancouver as the New Jersey Devils will make the first overall selection. The consensus is that pick will be American forward Jack Hughes or maybe Finnish forward Kaapo Kakko, but what will the Arizona Coyotes do all the way down at No. 14?
Ahead of the draft, general manager John Chayka offered some of his thoughts in an article found on the team’s website.
“When you’re looking at the draft, you’re looking at, ‘Are there assets that we can add to our organization that would otherwise be very difficult to trade for?’,” Chayka said. “As we look through the possibilities at 14, there are a lot of talented players there, and depending on how it shakes out with the first 13 picks, we know that we’re going to get a good player regardless of how that works.”
Maybe those remarks could be interpreted as drafting for best player available rather than need. But it’s also worth nothing that the Coyotes have taken plenty of defensemen; Last year alone, Arizona took four blueliners in nine selections. The year before that, in 2017, Arizona took five defensemen in nine picks.
What might they do this year? Who is in range for them at 14? We looked around the world wide web to find what everyone is saying so you don’t have to:
NBC Sports Boston, Joe Haggerty: Peyton Krebs, C, Kootenay (WHL)
“The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder isn’t the biggest prospect in the world, but he makes up for it with his skating ability and a dangerous, lethal shot,” Haggerty wrote. “Krebs had 19 goals and 68 points in 64 games last season, but was also an astounding minus-50 while very clearly struggling defensively on a poor team.
“It will be interesting to see if a so-so draft season ends up hurting him at all, but Krebs could be another interesting piece added to a talented young cast in Arizona, and he’s got a lot of intangibles like maturity and hockey smarts working in his favor as well. We also know that plus/minus isn’t going to scare the fancy stats crew running the show in the desert.”
The Athletic NHL Draft Board, Corey Pronman: Peyton Krebs is 14th-best prospect
A mock draft and a prospect ranking are different things, but if you look at Pronman’s 14th-ranked prospect — where the Coyotes are selecting — you get Krebs, a name that others have linked to Arizona.
This particular ranking features tiers of prospects, and after a few tiers, Krebs is the second prospect in the “high-end/very good bubble” tier behind Hamilton’s Arthur Kaliyev.
“Krebs was in a tough situation on a rebuilding Kootenay team this season, but he was everything that team could have hoped for,” Pronman wrote. “He was an all-situations center, a 17-year-old captain and a consistent offensive threat.
Bleacher Report mock draft: Peyton Krebs, C, Kootenay (WHL)
No further remarks given for this selection at 14.
The Athletic beat writers mock draft: Arthur Kaliyev, RW, Hamilton (OHL)
A mock draft completed by beat writers from The Athletic brought Coyotes writer Craig Morgan to the podium to select Arthur Kaliyev.
Morgan had this to say about the hypothetical selection: “Kaliyev’s combination of goal-scoring, playmaking ability, hockey sense and his cannon of a shot give the Coyotes a chance to upgrade the aforementioned system that holds Barrett Hayton as its only probable impact forward.”
Kaliyev, a left-handed shot, had 51 goals and 51 assists for 102 points in 67 games for the Hamilton Bulldogs of the OHL this past season. He also scored a goal and an assist in four playoff games. It was his second year in the OHL, and he bumped his production significantly compared to the year before, in which he scored 31 goals with 48 points in 68 games.
The New York native’s 51 goals were the fourth-most in the OHL last season.
Newsday mock draft: Arthur Kaliyev, RW, Hamilton (OHL)
From Andrew Gross and Colin Stephenson: “The first 50-goal scorer (51-51-102) in Hamilton Bulldogs history and just the fourth OHLer to score 50 before his 18th birthday. But can he do that against NHL defenders? The jury is out on that.”
The Athletic’s Corey Pronman’s mock draft: Vasili Podkolzin, RW, SKA St. Petersburg (Russia)
Podkolzin is listed as 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds and is a left-handed shot that played at several different levels of hockey in Russia last year.
“This is probably toward the lowest range of where I think Podkolzin gets, I could see him anywhere from No. 6 to 14, but I don’t think Arizona would pass up a chance to add a dynamic player like him,” Pronman wrote.
ESPN Mock Draft 2.0: Cole Caufield, RW, USNTDP
The Coyotes have one product of the NTDP on their team already, a young forward by the name of Clayton Keller. ESPN’s Chris Peters has Arizona adding another, taking Cole Caufield 14th overall.
“The undersized sniper is going to be one of the hardest players to slot,” Peterson wrote. “But if Kaliyev is already off the board, it’d be hard to ignore the value the 5-foot-7 Caufield brings with perhaps the best shot in the draft.”
Caufield is listed on the NTDP’s site as being only 5-foot-6, though others list him at 5-foot-7. Either way, Caufield’s size is an often-mentioned point when talking about his status as a draft prospect, despite the fact that he scored 54 goals in 59 games last season.
The Athletic’s draft trade possibilities: Coyotes a team to watch
Craig Custance of The Athletic broke down the trade possibilities of each team as it relates to their first-round picks, and it sounds to him like something could be brewing for Arizona.
“It’s been made clear to many NHL teams that the Coyotes are willing to move this pick in return for a front line offensive player,” Custance wrote. “The Coyotes are another team of interest leading up to the draft.”