The Arizona Coyotes will pick No. 3 in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft on July 7 following Tuesday’s NHL Draft Lottery.
The Montreal Canadiens won the lottery to secure the top pick. The Coyotes had a 13.5% chance at the No. 1 selection.
Now that Arizona and general manager Bill Armstrong know where they pick, they can zero in on the prospect they think best suits their needs.
“We’re excited that we’re going to get a quality player, a top talent from the top of the draft order and that’s where you find impact players,” Armstrong told reporters on Tuesday. “So as an organization, it’s an exciting time. And not always is the best player found at the top.”
With the Canadiens having the draft’s top pick, Canadian center Shane Wright has been the favorite to hear his name called first.
Playing his hockey for Kingston in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), Wright scored 32 goals to go with 62 assists. He did all of that in 63 games.
A true two-way player, Wright can cover all 60-feet of ice making his impact felt offensively and defensively.
Should Montreal make the expected selection of Wright No. 1 overall, it leaves the Coyotes with a number of options.
American center Logan Cooley has been a constant behind Wright on draft boards. The forward tallied 75 points in 51 games playing for Team USA U18.
There’s also Juraj Slafkosky, the Slovakian winger who is the top-ranked European prospect. Slafkosky is a big, physical forward who possesses an elite shot, scoring seven goals in as many games for Team Slovakia in the 2022 Olympics where he was named tournament MVP.
The Coyotes could shy away from taking an offensive prospect and continue to try to build on the blue line.
Simon Nemec of Slovakia and David Jiricek of Czech Republic are the top-ranked defensemen prospects.
Aside from their top pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, it will be a busy first round for the Coyotes who hold two more selections.
Arizona holds the first round picks for both the Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche. With both teams still playing in the playoffs, the Coyotes still wait and see where their other two selections in the first round may fall.
The draft won’t slow down for the Coyotes after the first round as Arizona currently holds four selections in the second round, giving the team seven selections inside the top 45 picks.
“I was out scouting some games with the scouts and it’s nice to be able to sit there and watch a game and say, ‘Hey, that guy would be nice to get with those picks.’ And you have that ability,” Armstrong said.
“I think the most frustrating thing you could ever imagine is being a scout with a great list and no picks. I think our staff is excited. We want to make picks and now we know where we lie in the draft order. It’s an exciting time for us.”