Sunday, June 21, 2009

Five for Howling presents its Phoenix Coyotes draft thoughts

It's been a tough couple months for the Phoenix Coyotes. They came (this) close to being the Ontario Black-Berrys and just about everyone crapped on their franchise. Needless to say, the team isn't out of the woods yet, but for now the Coyotes are staying in the desert.

Our main source of Coyotes information and opinions is "Five for Howling," the Phoenix Coyotes Sports Blog Nation representative run by Odin Mercer. FfH has been a great source of information and dissenting opinions as the 'Yotes are not necessarily the most heavily covered team in the league.

Make sure to follow Five for Howling and congratulate Odin Mercer on the team staying in the valley of the sun.

1. Now that the dust has settled on the, um, Blackberry scenario, the Coyotes have a high draft pick to sort out. Who do you expect the Coyotes to pick this year and do you think that player could have an immediate impact on the roster?

Well I think that if the Coyotes keep the 6th pick they should go with Jared Cowen. They’ll do the due diligence to make sure that knee is okay but if it is he’ll be solid on the blueline for years to come. Barring any surprise drop of one of the other top players I think he’s our pick.

2. The Coyotes cleared out a lot of salary at the trade deadline (Jokinen, Morris, etc.) and there were reports that the team was struggling financially. How limited do you expect the teams movements to be? Do you think the 'Yotes will make some moves at the draft?

Well we already saw the Reinprecht deal with Florida, which wasn’t anything big, but shows you how good Don Maloney is at getting something for nothing. In another 2 weeks he would have just walked and signed somewhere where now we at least get a prospect for him. We’ve got a lot of dollars to spend before we even get to the salary floor though so look for the RFAs to all get locked up and for Don Maloney to go after some mid range UFAs that he can get a deal on like he did Kurt Sauer last year who was a steal at 4 years and just under 2 mil per. I think you’ll see moves, but nothing like the Jokinen trade from last year. We’ll have to be really creative.

3. Looking back, describe some of the best moments in the Coyotes/Jets drafting history. Are there any players who stand out as "steals" or moves that defined the franchise in a positive way that stand out to you?

I think the obvious is Shane Doan. You couldn’t ask for a better captain. He’s stuck with the team through everything win or lose. While I don’t know if that’s a steal, it’s certainly the best pickup we ever made. Once we got some better management in here and put Don Maloney in charge we’ve really gotten better in the draft department. Sure we won’t really know how those players turn out for a few more years, but Boedker, Turris , Tikhonov, as well as Hanzal and Mueller, these are all solid pickups in the recent past that could be huge for us.

4. On the other hand, what are some moves the Coyotes would surely take back? Tell us about some of the darker moments in Phoenix(and/or Winnipeg's) draft history.

The most recent poor pick was Blake Wheeler, we both picked him way too early and obviously didn’t go into that pick with our eyes open as to what he was going to want as far as playing for our team. Then as you go back you have the entire 2003 class which played a total of 0 NHL games though our first round pick did manage to lead the Arizona Sundogs to the CHL championship in 2008. I guess that’s something. The 1999 draft had us take 9 players that played a grand total of 49 games. So we’ve had some really gems of drafts.

5. Soapbox time: feel free to take the floor about the Coyotes, whether it be the draft or the relocation worries. What would you like to tell the blogosphere, in general? I imagine there might be a few things you'd like to get off your chest ...

Mostly I just want to tell those that have been supportive thanks and those that haven’t to take a long walk off a short pier. Just about any team could be the next to have this happen to them and jeering at other fans and hoping for them to lose their team just heaps bad karma onto yourself. Sure the economics could be better, and wanting a team in your own city is understandable, but attacking fans of another team isn’t going to help anything or accomplish anything other than make those doing it look like stupid gits. Long live the PHOENIX Coyotes!

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