The Arizona Coyotes missed the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season and dropped two spots during the Draft Lottery.
Arizona finished the season with the third-worst record in hockey and will draft No.5 overall despite having a 33.9 percent chance at getting a top-3 pick. As bad as they have been in recent years, it’s just the second time since 2007 that they have drafted in the top-5 (2007-No.3: Kyle Turris / 2015-No.3: Dylan Strome).
Outside of Jakob Chychrun, most of the Coyotes’ top prospects are forwards. 2016 No.7 overall pick, Clayton Keller, had an outstanding rookie season and Dylan Strome projects to be a full-time NHLer in 2019 after posting over a point-per-game in the AHL last year.
With the No.5 Overall Pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, the Arizona Coyotes select…
Evan Bouchard — RHD — Canada ????????
Bouchard has good size (6-foot-2 / 192lbs.) with outstanding mobility. In his second OHL season, Bouchard was named the captain of the London Knights and he led all defensemen in points (87), assists (62) and was second in goals (25).
If there is anything that Bouchard needs to work on, it’s his shot. Bouchard doesn’t have the strongest shot, but he is a great puck-moving defenseman and thrives at both ends of the ice.
Bouchard expects to play in the NHL as soon next season and being drafted by the Coyotes could make that a reality. The Coyotes have given their rookies a chance to play right away, wasting no time getting Keller and Chychrun in the show in recent years. Even if he has to wait another year, Bouchard helps bolster the Coyotes’ blueline of the future, which is their biggest weakness right now.
“A highly intelligent all-around defenceman that plays with poise and can shift the pace of play in a multitude of ways. Showcases smooth four-way skating ability and loves to get involved in all situations – especially when that situation happens to be an up-ice rush. Has a polished offensive skill-set which includes well-timed passes and a sneaky, erratic shot. Goes with the high percentage play and makes smart decisions. Could work on strength behind his shot. Defensively active, cutting off lanes and always staying in excellent positioning. Reads cues well in all three zones and seems to stay a step ahead. All-in-all, a well-rounded defender with great hockey sense and work ethic.” — Elite Prospects