aPRIL 29, 2018 | 11:52aM ET
COYOTES PLAN ON BEING ACTIVE AROUND DRAFT
John Chayka, GM
The Arizona Coyotes will select fifth-overall in this June’s NHL Draft, and while they’re bound to select a talented player, that might not be the only noise they make on Draft Day.
Speaking to the Arizona Republic ahead of Saturday night’s NHL Draft Lottery, where the Coyotes were awarded the No.5 selection, Coyotes GM John Chayka acknowledged his willingness to be aggressive leading up to and during the Draft.
“I’ll definitely be active,” Chayka told the Republic. “There’s no doubt about that. I think that’s an opportunity to make some moves and it’s an opportunity for us to improve our group. . . . Ultimately, you need someone to say ‘yes.’
“As the draft comes, you try to be more active as well.”
Last June on Draft Day, the Coyotes traded the seventh-overall pick in the draft and defenceman Anthony DeAngelo to the New York Rangers for centre Derek Stepan and goalie Antti Raanta.
While moving this summer’s fifth-overall pick for a roster player may be unlikely, Chayka is open to exploring all of his options and may even decide to slide down in the draft if the right deal presents itself.
“Our philosophy is we want to be prepared and as prepared as possible,” Chayka said. “We know we’re going to be picking in the top 10 -- but at the same time, you can move up, you can move down. . . . It becomes my job to make sure we’re getting the best player we can and moving up or down and making sure that we zero in on that guy.”
The Coyotes also plan on speaking with star defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and his representatives ahead of the Draft to get an understanding as to whether or not he wants to sign a long-term extension with the club.
Ekman-Larsson has one-year left on his contract and if the Coyotes come to the realization that they will not be able to lock him up to a new deal, they’ll have to explore trading him and doing so at the Draft may be most opportunistic.