Coyotes Take Massive Swings in 2023 NHL Draft

With 12 picks, the Coyotes sent a message about the type of team they are trying to build. They drafted high-upside, quite a few high-risk players, and every one of them above 6 feet. They also showed no fear of drafting from Russia or Belarus, drafting three from that area. Let’s take a look at some of those decisions.

Dimitri Simashev & Danill But

The Coyotes shocked many people when they took Simashev 6th and But at 12 in the NHL Draft. Once the initial shock wore off, these selections got a split opinion, but nobody who questioned the picks questioned the players picked; just the players passed on. Simashev arguably has the highest upside of any defenseman in the draft with the highest upside due to his size, frame, and skating ability. He didn’t get a lot of offensive opportunities last season, but most experts seem to agree there’s more there than showed he just needs a chance. If he gets that chance and shows he has legit offensive upside, he has a real chance of being this drafts Mo Seider, and that puck was equally questioned at the time. No one questions it now. As for But, the skill, the size, the shot, he has a full offensive toolkit to his game. He needs to grow into that large frame more which will happen with time, and needs some coordination, which again should happen with time. While he definitely carries some risk and will need patience as he develops, if he hits his ceiling is extreme. Both picks have risk, and there was some excellent talent selected around them, but GM Bill Armstrong put his faith in his staff, led by Darryl Plandowski, and took these two. Time will tell if it was the right decision, but the confidence of the staff behind those picks should give Yotes fans plenty of hope.

Michael Hrabel

The Coyotes, in the second round, decided to take that swing on MASSIVE goalie Hrabel. The team has lacked a goalie of the future and doesn’t have much in the way of depth past Ivan Prosvetov, but between the high upside of Hrabel and taking two other goaltenders (Melkite Thelin, Carsen Musser) in the 5th and 7th rounds, they definitely fixed that. Most draft experts liked Hrabals’s upside between his game, and his size has a really good shot at being a starting goalie, something the Coyotes have never drafted (depending on what happens with Adin Hill in the future, that may change there). Between Hrabel and Simashev, the Coyotes attacked their two biggest areas of opportunity in their prospect pool. As Armstrong said after, this will allow them to draft purely on BPA in the next couple of drafts and stack talent in their pool.

Rest of draft

Plenty of size with some good high upside thrown in for good measure, they will be counting on a few of these guys taking leaps similar to what Sam Lipkin has done since being selected. They will have organizational depth at almost every position, with at least one top prospect in each position as well. The Coyotes still have plenty of needs going forward, second-line center and right-shot defenseman stick out, and they will still likely have a couple more lottery picks to address those before they start making their goal of the playoffs. For all Coyote fans, there is plenty of reasons for optimism, and this draft provided more.

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