With a defense which needs improvement, will the Arizona Coyotes go after a defenseman in the upcoming draft?
Here are few options for them to consider.
Guillaume Lepage from NHL.com states this about Noah Dobson:
"He increased his value throughout Acadie-Bathurst's run to the Memorial Cup championship. With his extraordinary vision and skating ease, he shouldn't need too much more development time to establish himself as a major part of the Coyotes' future".
Dobson is one of the best two-way defensemen in this draft. If it's offense you want, he provides it. He tallied 17-52-69 in 67 games from the blue line and added 3-10-13 in 20 playoff games. On top of all that, he added 2-5-7 in four games in Regina.
He was just outstanding. Outstanding enough for the Coyotes to use their fifth overall selection?
They may need a replacement right-handed shooting blueliner if Luke Schenn goes elsewhere.
Much depends on what the Oliver Ekman-Larsson does about the pending offer of $8.25 million for eight years he's been offered by the team. If he gets traded, that will leave a spot for someone like Dobson who could be NHL-ready next season.
At 6'3", 180lbs he has the NHL style body and seems to be able to score as well as defend. If he adds 15-20lbs to his frame he will be much more able to compete with the men in the league.
Quinn Hughes made his professional debut playing for the Toronto Marlboros Minor Midget AAA team of the GTMMHL. In his first season (2014-2015), he collected 44 points (13 goals and 31 assists) in 74 games.
Last season at the University of Michigan Hughes had 5 goals, 24 assists in 27 games.
He also appeared in seven games for Team USA U18 at World Championships, adding one goal and four assists (five points).
Eliteprospects.com says this about Hughes:
"An elite defensive talent that has mastered the elements of speed and decision-making. He is calculated in his handling of the puck and well-versed in his ability to limit time and space for the opposition without the puck. It's almost taken for granted, now, that he is a highly skilled offensive player, simply due to his individual ability to carry plays and outfox the opposition in their own end. His creativity and vision is what sets him apart from many other defenders, and he plays that exciting style of hockey that punishes opponents' mistakes with immediacy. It's his proactivity through the neutral zone, not just limiting the time and space for the opposition but limiting their options to move the puck up-ice every time he's on a shift, that makes him so potent. All-in-all, a complete defenceman that understands how to open up a game and take it over". (Curtis Joe, EP 2018)
Five inches shorter and five pounds lighter than Dobson, Hughes will need to gain some weight and strength so as not to be pushed around in the NHL.
Other than that, he could be a solid defensive addition to the Coyotes' lineup.
Adam Boqvist at 5'11", 168lbs really doesn't have an NHL style body, but if he adds some weight and strength to his game he has a good shot to be an adequate NHL defenseman.
Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com has this to say about him:
"He is a skilled right-shot defenseman with excellent vision and on-ice awareness with a very good understanding of the game. He is more of a finesse-type player who at times plays bigger than he is but has a tremendous shot and his upside is high with proper development".
Boqvist who hails from Sweden and played for Brynäs IF J20 SuperElit had 14 goals, 10 assists in 25 games. What is always interesting is that the European players play very few games and adjusting to the rigors of an NHL schedule can be tough.
Still very young at 17, he won't be 18 until mid-August. If the Coyotes are looking for a draft pick who may be ready sooner rather than later he may not fit their needs.
These three are very talented players
Like any other draft on June 22, 2018, in Dallas, the Coyotes head brass will assess who's left on the board and select the best available player. (They always say that...) Many things in the interim may affect that decision.
Will Ekman-Larsson still be around, and how will that affect their selection?
If Max Domi is traded will the Coyotes go after an offensive dynamo player like Oliver Wahlstrom, RW, USA U-18 (USHL)? The Coyotes already have an infusion of young skill up front, and Wahlstrom (6-1, 205) is a strong skater who scored 48 goals in 62 games with the USA Hockey's National Team Development Program under-18 team. He had seven goals in seven games to help the United States win the silver medal at the 2018 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.
He can create room for himself and get his shot off from above the dots and has the size and strength to execute below the circles.
We will know more in the coming two weeks before the draft, so fasten your seatbelts, things could get bumpy!
Do you think the Arizona Coyotes will select one of these talented defensemen with their #5 overall pick? Let us know in the comments section below.