Think back, way, way, waaaay back before the COVID-19 shutdown in the NHL and the subsequent Return to Play. Back all the way to the start of the 2019-20 season when it was revealed that the Arizona Coyotes were found guilty of breaking NHL rules with regards to the NHL Entry Draft Combine. Remember that?
In effect the Coyotes were overstepping boundaries and interviewing potential draftees when they weren't allowed to. The NHL took this infraction very seriously and today it rendered its punishment for the club: No 2nd round pick this summer and no 1st round pick next summer.
Check it out:
The National Hockey League has sanctioned the Arizona Coyotes for violating the NHL's Combine Testing Policy during the 2019-20 season, directing the forfeiture of the Club’s 2nd-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft and 1st-round pick in the 2021 NHL .
Ouch. That's a tough pill to swallow.
Even tougher when you remember that these infractions happened under the watch of former Coyotes GM John Chayka who effectively abandoned the organization just prior to the NHL's Return to Play. Chayka had reportedly interviewed with another NHL team despite not receiving approval from the Coyotes' ownership group. He met anyways and subsequently left the team for a new opportunity. Given that ugly situation and now this ruling from the NHL, it's probably pretty safe to assume that rules don't mean much to Chayka. And that's me putting things gently. Some people would even call the guy a liar and a cheater...
In any case, this is obviously a steep, steep, STEEP price for the Coyotes to play. They currently have no GM and whoever they do hire to come in and clean up Chayka's mess will be behind the eight ball already. With no 2nd round pick in this year's draft and no 1st round pick in next year's draft, it'll be tough to stock the prospect cupboards or make significant trades without these valuable assets. I have to say though, as much as it sucks for the Coyotes and their fanbase, this is 100% justified and fair on the NHL's part. The fact of the matter is that teams will try to get away with as much as they possible can. That's just the nature of a competitive industry. It's the NHL's job to keep these teams in check and dole out penalties for violations and infractions. Well done, Mr. Bettman.