The Arizona Coyotes were among the most active teams during the 2022 NHL Entry Draft two weeks ago, with general manager Bill Armstrong making five selections in the first two rounds.
The Coyotes were active in moving up the board, making two trades on draft night.
Arizona traded up to No. 11 overall, where they selected center Conor Geekie.
That wouldn’t be the only movement for the Coyotes, trading the No. 32 pick to the Edmonton Oilers for a package that included veteran forward Zack Kassian and a number of draft picks.
Now being fully able to digest the draft, Armstrong talked about the importance of the underrated Kassian acquisition on Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Friday.
“He’s going to be a great add into our new style of game we’re trying to play,” Armstrong said of Kassian.
What’s that new style of Coyotes hockey you ask? ‘Cactus style,’ is what Armstrong called it.
Big, physical, gritty hockey is the brand Arizona is going for in the 2022-23 NHL season, as Kassian is set to play a big role in that for the Coyotes at 6-foot-3, 211-pounds.
The 31-year-old will give quite the veteran presence to a young locker room, as Kassian is coming off a trip to the Western Conference Finals with Edmonton.
Another sneaky benefit to trading for the veteran winger, Kassian is someone who can be a first-liner or even a third-line grinder.
“He’s someone who can have a lot of different roles for us,” Armstrong said.
In his time in Edmonton, Kassian played on a line with Connor McDavid at times, arguably one of the game’s top superstars.
He also slid down the Oilers’ lineup from time-to-time, taking on a more physical role.
Armstrong added that Kassian is another physical player to insert into the Coyotes lineup, something they have stressed on adding in the past year.
Kassian adds to Arizona’s mix of strong forwards, joining the likes of Lawson Crouse, Nick Ritchie and Liam O’Brien.
The Coyotes also signed veteran center Nick Bjugstad in free agency, another physical presence at 6-foot-6, 209-pounds.
With the new style of play heading into the season, Armstrong says the Coyotes will play hard, but also play the right way.
“When you come to watch the Yotes, you’re going to see a great brand of hockey.”