The NHL announced on Wednesday that punishment has finally been dished out to the Arizona Coyotes. In late-January, the team underwent an investigation that found that they had been inviting prospects to secret fitness tests, giving the team an unfair advantage and extra look at prospects. Nearly seven months later, the league has finally come to a punishment, stripping Arizona of their second-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft and their first-round pick in the 2021 Draft.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) August 26, 2020
Two Arizona Coyotes Draft Picks Forfeited
The Coyotes had draft-eligible players undergo physical fitness tests outside of the official NHL Combine. This gave them an extra chance to analyze future prospects. These extra rounds violated the league’s collective-bargaining-agreement. The punishment given to Arizona was imposed under Article 6.3 of the CBA. NHL.com’s report on this details this article as such:
“Article 6.3 of the NHL Constitution, which authorizes the Commissioner to impose discipline ‘if he determines . . . that any person . . . has either violated the Constitution, the By-Laws, or any other governing rule or regulation of the League, or has been or is guilty of conduct . . . detrimental to the League or the game of hockey.'”
Gary Bettman, the NHL’s commissioner, noted that originally, under the Combine Testing Policy Memoranda, a fine of no more than $250,000 would be in order for violations. However, Bettman felt the removal of draft picks was more fair in this situation.
This now leaves Arizona with only four picks in this year’s Draft, one in each of the last four rounds. They sent their first-round pick to the New Jersey Devils in their acquisition of Taylor Hall. Their second-rounder has been forfeited. And their third-round pick was sent off to acquire Carl Soderberg from the Colorado Avalanche.
Arizona will also only have one pick in the top three rounds of the 2021 Draft, with their first-rounder being forfeited and their third-round pick being apart of a trade.