By: Seth Askelson
Author’s Note – This is research based off of different draft sites, as well as the most recent prospect rankings. Not all sites have full mock drafts or full player rankings, so sources used in each article will vary by round.
The Arizona Coyotes introduced its newest general manager Bill Armstrong on September 22, but he will not be a part of the 2020 draft process for his new team. Instead, assistant GM Steve Sullivan will be in charge, and he will be tasked with putting together a quality draft with four picks, the first of which comes at 111th overall.
It will remain to be seen whether the Coyotes will look to jump back into the earlier rounds via trade, but the late round picks are going to be key. While the seventh round does not bring in the highest television ratings, but has given chances to guys like Ondrej Palat, Frederik Andersen and current Coyotes defenseman Jason Demers.
Draft Site: Nico Daws, Goalie, Guelph Storm, Ontario Hockey League (OHL)
The Hockey Writers Mock Draft: At 194 – Mason Alderson, Forward, Brewster Academy (NH), High School; At 204 – Robbie Fromm-Delorme, Right Winger, Portland Winterhawks, Western Hockey League (WHL)
THW’s Larry Fisher’s Final Rankings – Vsevolod Skotnikov, Goaltender, Krasnaya Armiya Moskva, Junior Hockey League (MHL – Russia)
#3 – Robbie Fromm-Delorme
After playing two years of United States high school hockey for The Governor’s Academy in Massachusetts, the Richmond, British Columbia native made his way to the Western Hockey League’s Portland Winterhawks. In his first season, he contributed 14 points in 60 games, but picked up his play in the postseason. Fromm-Delorme put up three points (two goals, one assist) during Portland’s five-game series loss to the Spokane Chiefs.
He used his postseason success to improve his point total this past regular season. Fromm-Delorme posted 36 points in 55 games, finishing seventh on the team in both points and assists (26). His rankings are all over the place ranging from late fifth-round pick by Draft Site, to the 260th overall prospect by THW. He is the 196th ranked North American skater by NHL.com, falling 31 spots from the league’s midterm rankings.
Arizona’s depth at forward is thin, and most likely losing forwards Brad Richardson and Carl Soderberg to free agency are going to test the system’s forward prospects even more. Adding Fromm-Delorme, who is 6’1’’, shown flashes of playmaking ability, and has produced in a postseason environment, could be a great add to the Coyotes system for years to come.
#2 – Vsevolod Skotnikov
The Coyotes statistically have the best goaltending tandem in the entire league over the past two seasons. The issue is, it has been a struggle to have Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta healthy and available at the same time. The signing of Adin Hill to a one-way contract early in the offseason may signal the Coyotes are thinking about its future in the crease. Plus, there is a lot of buzz about what Ivan Prosvetov can do, though he is a 21-year-old completing his first professional season.
Selecting this Russian goaltender could be the move for Arizona to boost its goaltending pipeline. Last year in Russia’s junior league, he posted a 1.39 goals against average and a .938 save percentage. He was just as good in four playoff games during the 2020 edition, posting a 1.30 GAA and a .956 SV%. He has built off of the past season already, playing three games in the Supreme Hockey League (VHL), the pseudo farm league of the KHL. He has posted a 1.34 GAA and a .945 SV% for Zvezda Moskva, and even got a chance in one game at the KHL level, allowing only one goal and posting a .952 SV%. Skotnikov is showing promise back home, and could be enough for the Coyotes to develop yet another Russian goaltender.
#1 – Nico Daws
Draft Site having Daws available this late may be a little unrealistic. He is ranked in the top 100 by many draft boards, and is the top-ranked North American goaltender by NHL’s central scouting. Since finding full scouting rankings can be difficult, we will entertain the idea that Daws would be available this late.
The German-born goaltender struggled in his first two years in the Ontario Hockey League. In 2017-2018, he posted a 4.06 GAA and an .880 SV% in 14 games (621 minutes). The next season in more playing time saw Daws improve, but he really broke out this past season.
Among goaltenders who have played 35 games during the OHL regular season, Daws ranked first in save percentage (.924), third in GAA (2.46), and his eight shutouts led the league as well. His play in both the OHL, and during Team Canada’s training camp earned him a spot on the country’s U20 World Championships team. While he did not see a minute of action, with Blues prospect Joel Hofer getting the nod, it had to be a confidence boost for the draft prospect.
Daws continues to get better, and with his draft-year season ranking at the top of the OHL, it only seems up from here. This would be a great choice for the Coyotes if he somehow is available this late.
The Pick – Vsevolod Skotnikov
Daws is the clear choice out of the three, but it is very unlikely and unrealistic that he will be available halfway through the seventh round. But, selecting a goaltender who, even in a small sample size, is showing growth and finding success in a professional league overseas. Skotnikov could help the Coyotes set up the crease for the next years after Kuemper and Raanta leave. Arizona seems to be okay in net for the next couple of years, but choosing a promising goaltender this late could set up the goaltending pipeline for years to come.