NHL Draft 2012: Grading The Phoenix Coyotes Picks

Don Maloney is one of the great evaluators of talent in the NHL today.

This becomes even more obvious when you look back at the 2011-2012 season. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Mikkel Boedker, two former Maloney picks, had breakout years last season.

The Coyotes took care of a major need by drafting Henrik Samuelsson with the 27th pick overall, the latest the team has ever drafted. The big forward may not be NHL ready as of yet, but such a late draft pick is not expected to be.

Samuelsson's play is reminiscent of the Coyotes 2005 first-round pick Martin Hanzal, but with a mean streak. Samuelsson, a 6' 2" player who grew up in Scottsdale playing in the P.F. Chang Hockey Program, has a big body and uses it well. He will just need to improve on his skating to become a legitimate scoring threat in the NHL.

His father, Ulf, is a former NHL'er and was a Coyotes assistant coach for five years.

According to an article in the Arizona Republic, the Coyotes were very interested in their second pick, Jordan Martinook.

"He's a Coyote player," Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving told the Republic. "He's a competitive, detailed guy with some ability."

Martinook put up 40 goals and added 24 assist playing for the Vancouver Giants in the WHL last year.

For the rest of the remainder of the draft the Coyotes looked to find value with their late picks.

Round 3: James Melindy (D)

Round 4: Rhett Holland (D)

Round 5: Niklas Tikkinen (D)

Round 6: Samuel Fejes (LW)

Round 7: Marek Langhamer (G), Justin Hache (D)

The Coyotes are young and talented on defense, but Maloney and the Coyotes know how to build a team—from the back end. Melindy, Holland, Tikkinen and Hache all have potential to be solid D-men at the NHL level.

Honestly, the final rounds of the draft are a crapshoot. Most players will never sniff the ice time in the NHL, but there is always a chance you stumble upon a gem. There is a high probability that the Coyotes may have found at least one in this draft class.

The move that will have the most immediate impact is the reacquisition of defenseman Zbynek Michalek. Michalek played five season in Phoenix before going to Pittsburg.

Michalek is expected to take the spot of Michal Rozsival, who will likely leave in free agency. There is also speculation that the 'Yotes are shopping all-star Keith Yandle for some offensive firepower.

Michalek is a proven NHL defenseman, who will bring some veteran leadership to the Coyotes blue line.

Coyotes draft grade: B+

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