Did Arizona waste the fifth overall pick?

Credit: Michael Ainsworth/AP Photo

Right okay, the drafts done so now we can say who had a great and who had an awful draft before these kids have even hit the ice.

It sounds unfair but it’s what hockey fans want so it’s what hockey fans get, the days after the draft are either full of hype or full of character assassination, you’ll have to find out where this post falls by reading on further.

Arizona, you had the fifth pick, Filip Zadina was available when nobody expected him to be, so with the fifth overall selection the Arizona Coyotes select…Barrett Hayton?

Now before you all go Hayton on the kid (insert laughter here), let’s talk about this.

So Zadina is definitely the best scorer in the draft, he should have gone in the top 3 so yes it may see dumb to have passed on him. I mean it’s not often you find a guy with his level of scoring touch but that’s okay, I mean the draft isn’t a sure thing maybe he turns out to be a bust or maybe he’s future Hall of Famer, it’s too early to tell right? (Wrong, we can make these bold predictions the day they first put on their skates)

Who am I kidding, Zadina was available and you passed?! That’s….actually understandable.

This years group of centres (I’m from the UK so I’ll spell it that way if I want to) was noticeably weaker than usual so it’s no surprise to see teams take a gamble on those available.

Look at Jesperi Kotkaniemi, he’s not better than Zadina but he went higher, because he fills a need for Montreal.

There’s such a high premium on centremen nowadays that when you look at the Coyotes, maybe Zadina isn’t the guy they need right now? Maybe Hayton’s potential as an impact player a few years down the line was valued higher than a guy who’ll just bang in goals. Hayton could help the team win all over the ice, Zadina can help you when you give him the chance to score.

Let’s not forget, the Coyotes aren’t exactly a predictable organisation.

Clayton Keller – Credit: Rick Scuteri/AP Photo

I mean in 2016 it looked like they reached a bit for Clayton Keller…yeah that looks like a steal nowadays.

Most had Keller going outside the top 10 but John Chayka and the ‘Yotes took him at 7. They dealt the seventh last year to get Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta, I mean the Coyotes do some things you question initially that end up being okay.

I wasn’t in the room when the Coyotes met Hayton so I don’t know how he managed to convince them he was the guy they wanted, but he must have done something.

And let’s not forget though, Hayton was almost guaranteed to go before pick 15 so they didn’t exactly sell a cow for magic beans here. I mean it’s not like they took their seventh round pick Liam Kirk in the first, they took a sure first rounder a little earlier than expected.

Also, if you believe Corey Pronman from The Athletic and Craig Morgan who covers the Coyotes for NHL.com, it looks like the Blackhawks were high on Hayton too, so potentially the Yotes took him just three sports earlier instead of trading down in fear of missing him completely.

Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports

In an article published by Craig Morgan, GM John Chayka was quoted as saying “I think everyone wants instant analysis, In reality, when you go through drafts, you look back and you find out who was right and who was wrong. We feel confident in our pick.

“We’re trying to build through the middle and we think we’ve got a great center ice depth, we think we’ve got great depth on defense and we think we’ve got a great goalie pipeline as well. When I look at that and I look at how you build foundations of teams, I’m really excited about the future of this organization.”

Hayton has a bright future ahead of him, he’s not a flashy guy, he’s not going to dazzle you every time he’s on the puck. But he does bring a stable 200 foot game that means he’s just as good at generating plays as well as breaking them up. He’ll be a great guy to add into the top six once he reaches his prime but that might take a little time.

Zadina might be the flashier player, the better goal scorer and the guy who makes the NHL first, but if John Chayka has a process he wants to follow then let him do it.

If you look at Arizona right now, they have Raanta in net who appears to be a solid choice for a team not looking to dominate, just get back on track, Oliver Ekman-Larsson has apparently agreed a massive extension, Jakob Chychrun is coming good on his promise, and Niklas Hjalmarsson reportedly has agreed to an extension that’s yet to be announced.

Not to mention they just potentially committed daylight robbery on the Montreal Canadiens to get Alex Galchenyuk, Derek Stepan isn’t a bad guy to have around, Clayton Keller is turning into a star and Dylan Strome should be in the lineup next year (if I had £1/$1 for every time I said that I’d be on his wage too), things are looking up for the Coyotes.

They’ve got some young potential stars coming up and Hayton could become one of them with the right development, they’ve got a boatload of cap space and they should start trending in the right direction if they make the right moves again.

Barrett Hayton is a great addition to their prospect pool and already rockets up to being one of the best prospects in the system. I don’t think the Coyotes wanted a guy they would rush into the lineup, and Hayton will have a great group to learn from when he makes his way to camp, he’s honestly a good pick up for the organisation.

The Coyotes admitted they’ve been high on the kid since Christmas, and you have to rely on your scouting team. Sure they can be wrong, but if they’ve been as obsessed with him as they’ve let on, it’s hard to imagine that they got this wrong and haven’t done their due diligence.

Go for the impact player down the line over the goalscorer, I get it. Not a bad selection Arizona.

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