The Arizona Coyotes are under investigation and could find themselves in a bit of trouble. They are alleged to have had draft-eligible players from the CHL perform physical tests outside of the official NHL combine. This is a potential violation of the league’s collective bargaining agreement. Darren Dreger of TSN broke news of an investigation Thursday afternoon.
“We are aware of the reports. We have discussed the matter with the NHL and we will have no further comment at this time.” https://t.co/fMdlErMKn6
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 31, 2020
Arizona Coyotes Under Investigation for Rule Violation
The issue with pre-draft physical testing is that it could force prospects to have 31 individual workouts beyond the combine. It could not only create an uneven scouting environment but also potentially impact the prospects’ health with so many potential workouts.
It is unclear why the Coyotes would have potentially done this, but the news is out. The NHL will look into the allegations. If they find Arizona guilty, it could result in fines of up to $250,000 per incident. The Canadian Leagues have already responded to Arizona’s efforts as well. Dreger also indicates that the three individual leagues have asked clubs to report any contact made with Arizona regarding physical testing.
What This Investigation Means for the Future
We won’t know the full extent of the violations until the league concludes its investigation and that could take some time. However, we do know that it makes the franchise look bad. Blame will start with ownership and trickle down to the scouting and operations departments. Arizona is a franchise long-discussed as a potential candidate to move to a new city. Violating league rules is a great way to end up on the Commissioner’s bad side.
This Arizona Coyotes investigation also comes at the worst possible time. The Coyotes are fighting for their lives in the Pacific Division. This likely won’t impact the play on the ice, but players could receive questions around their own pre-draft testing. It could create a distraction the players don’t want as the trade deadline approaches before the final months of the regular season.