It looks fishy that Arizona traded Devan Dubnyk just 19 games into the season and he went on to become a Vezina Trophy finalist for the Minnesota Wild. Almost as though the Coyotes were making a run for Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. But few could have predicted Dubnyk would maintain his spectacular play. After all, he was a bargain-basement signing by Arizona last off-season.
Round 1, pick 3
Round 1, pick 30
Round 2, pick 32
Round 2, pick 60
Round 3, pick 63
Round 3, pick 81
Round 5, pick 123
Round 7, pick 183
Only the pop-gun offense of Buffalo was worse than that of the Coyotes. Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (23 goals) was the lone player with more than 17 goals. Arizona needs better goaltending as well, but that will have to come in-house from Mike Smith, who’s signed long-term.
Smith is 33 and coming off a subpar season. He’s rebounded before, but there’s no one in the system even close to stepping in if his career keeps going south. A pending UFA like Dubnyk might help, but the Coyotes have to start planning for the next decade in the crease.
Arizona has the cap space and climate to lure players to the desert, but this isn’t an organization that will push the payroll to the upper limit. Five players who were to become UFAs were sent packing before the trade deadline, and there’s no urgency to retain the other four – Martin Erat, David Moss, B.J. Crombeen and Andrew Campbell. The Coyotes will do their best to reach the floor.
IN THE SYSTEM 2015-16
Max Domi probably would have challenged Mark Arcobello (17 goals with four teams) as the top goal-scoring forward in Arizona had he not been sent back to London for his final junior season in the OHL. Watch for him to hook up next season with Canadian world junior teammate Anthony Duclair, picked up from the New York Rangers in the Keith Yandle deal.
DID YOU KNOW
Bloodlines count for a lot in the Arizona system. Top prospects with famous fathers include Domi (Tie), Henrik Samuelsson (Ulf), Ryan MacInnis (Al) and Brendan Perlini (Fred).