After the Arizona Coyotes announced that they would be renouncing their fourth-round draft pick Mitchell Miller due to previous charges of assault and violating the Ohio Safe Schools, TSN Hockey Insiders Pierre LeBrun and Darren Dreger and TSN Senior Hockey Reporter Frank Seravalli discuss with host Gina Reda about how it got to this point, what the Coyotes knew prior to drafting Miller, and what their steps are moving forward.
Reda: Gentlemen, in less than a week the (Arizona) Coyotes went from, ‘we're providing Mitchell Miller with a second chance,’ to ‘we're now renouncing his rights immediately.’ Darren, the team gave us a brief description of what unfolded. What more can you tell us about it?
Dreger: Well, the Arizona Coyotes made their decision to renounce the rights to Mitchell Miller in the last couple of days given everything that's gone on within the Arizona Coyotes recently - it just became too much of a situation for the Arizona Coyotes to handle. Now, they knew on draft day that Mitchell Miller was involved in bullying incidents, but at that point they didn't have all of the details, they didn't have all of the specifics that go well beyond bullying as we now know. Initially, the Arizona Coyotes, they wanted to help Miller become a leader for the cause, but upon further investigation, as I said, it became too much for a team to bear with so much recent controversy.
LeBrun: And I think, Darren, that listen, I think the Coyotes were already at the point where they knew they're going to split ways with Mitchell Miller before this day. But certainly getting on the phone and having an emotional conversation with the mother of Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, the victim, went a long way as well. It was important for them to finally reach out to them, of course, you might say on this show that happened a while back, not just on this day, but it did finally happen and then speaking with Joni Meyer-Crothers, about an hour after that conversation is when the Coyotes made this official, so quickly that happened on Thursday. And listen, we can sit back and look at all the confluence of events that went into the Draft here. The fact that there [was] a change of regime there, were scouts on the way out and scouts on the way in. A GM in Bill Armstrong who did not take part in the Draft, fine. Those are all real factors. You know what? There is no excuse and the Coyotes know that. And they certainly are ready to own that that there are no excuses and how this went down.
Seravalli: So Pierre I think the question that looms large is why did the Coyotes, not at the time, know all of the specifics before pulling the trigger doing the due diligence on drafting Mitchell Miller. So what the Coyotes are going to do is try and now find the answer to those questions. They plan to conduct an internal review. And I think it's fair to say at this point that the scouts that had recommended that the Coyotes draft Mitchell Miller will face their fair share of scrutiny in that internal review. So this is one of those situations again, everyone in scouting circles across the hockey community knew it, so much so to the fact that when Mitchell Miller's name hit the draft board that there were audible gasps, I'm told, in other NHL war rooms when the Coyotes decided to draft him. So this is something that the Coyotes are going to look to get to the bottom of in the next few weeks.
Reda: And over the span of the last few days, Mitchell Miller has gone from highly touted NHL prospect to a case study for future generations.