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How the Coyotes draft sanctions impact the Flames

Last week, the National Hockey League laid down some pretty big sanctions on the Arizona Coyotes in the culmination of a fairly hefty investigation into Arizona fitness testing several draft prospects.

Here’s what the NHL ruled:

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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 Draft.

Effectively, teams are allowed to do fitness testing of prospects after the combine – e.g., to supplement the combine data – but not before. So the Coyotes give up a second round pick in 2020 (49th overall) and their first round pick in 2021. (It probably would’ve been their first rounder in 2020, but they had already traded it to New Jersey in the Taylor Hall trade.)

So what happens with the picks that don’t exist anymore and how does this impact the Flames?

The last two times draft picks were forfeited – the Leafs giving up a pick in 2009 and the Devils giving up a pick in 2011 – the picks remained in existence but were skipped. The 69th overall pick remained in place in 2011 after the Devils gave it up to the NHL as part of their punishment for the Ilya Kovalchuk cap circumvention, it was just ignored.

They just skipped it.

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So Arizona’s second round pick, 49th overall, exists but based on history the event will just skip it. So nominally, all of the Flames’ picks from the second round onward move up a spot (despite their numbering not changing).

The 19th overall pick will see the 19th player selected. But the 50th overall pick will see the Flames select the 49th player in the draft, and so on.

Similarly, 2021’s first round will have 32 picks – welcome Seattle! – but only 31 will be used. Presumably everyone will stop at Arizona’s pick and glare at their table for 30 seconds when it’s their turn, then move on with the business of selecting promising teenagers to bolster their hockey teams.