UTAH PUCK REPORT

Utah GM Bill Armstrong Says Rebuilding Franchise ‘Takes Some Patience’

Jun 28, 2024, 8:41 AM

SALT LAKE CITYUtah Hockey Club general manager Bill Armstrong joined the Utah Puck Report podcast to discuss his background in the sport, the NHL Draft, and Utah HC’s rebuild process.

Utah GM Bill Armstrong discusses rebuild

The former Arizona Coyotes and new Utah general manager hopped on the mic with Jay Stevens to talk about his philosophy of building a team and more. The GM also shared his excitement to be installing NHL hockey in the Beehive State.

“I can’t tell you how excited we are as an organization to be in Utah. It’s a great thing,” Armstrong said. “The love the people of Utah have shown us has been incredible.”

The general manager started to expound on Utah Hockey Club’s rebuild dating back four years ago in Arizona.

“We took on some bad contracts for a long time and to get draft picks and draft our way out of this and build the proper team the right way,” Armstrong told Utah Puck Report. “So not only could we be good but we could be good for a while. That takes some patience.”

Utah is about to make its first selection in the NHL Draft and Armstrong shared that adding talent to the roster changes from season to season. He said one year you might add a bunch of defensemen and the next you focus on forwards. However, one consistent thing is looking at the future of a player.

“Sometimes it’s size, sometimes it’s skill,” Armstrong said. “It’s projecting way out there.”

Learning to rebuild a team in St. Louis

Befoer he was hired as GM of the Coyotes in 2020, Armstrong helped the St. Louis Blues win the Stanley Cup in the 2018-19 season as an assistant general manager for the franchise. Armstrong credits a lot of his GM mindset to his time in St. Louis and believes rebuilding through the draft like the Blues did can work again.

“It does work. It’s the same philosophy. It’s the same timeline,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong shared that everyone loves a rebuild when you’re collecting draft picks but it’s tough when it’s the middle of the season and the team is in the middle of a losing streak.

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“We had to make sure you to kind of get through it,” the GM said. “It took us a long time in St. Louis to get over the hump.”

He continued by saying that battling through the tough times improved the Blues’ front office and their ability to find players.

“When we finally did. I think it taught us a lot to play those championship clubs early on,” Armstrong told Stevens. “I think we became better at drafting. I think we became better at finding character and doing more background on the players. So I think we wouldn’t have won a championship if we hadn’t gone through that grind and a little bit of adversity.”

Armstrong said that he uses those experiences in building Utah’s roster.

“I do use a lot of that in my daily thought process of building this team,” Armstrong added.

 

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Players in the Stanley Cup Final

The general manager highlighted the success of some of the players from this season’s Stanley Cup Final. Armstrong pointed out that the series was highlighted by some veteran players who had been in the league for 10 years or longer.

“There’s not that many guys that can stand out when they’re that young,” Armstrong shared.

To hear Armstrong’s entire interview on the Utah Puck Report, check out the audio player above.

When is the 2024 NHL Draft?

The NHL Draft will be held in Las Vegas from June 28-29. The two-day event will begin with a first round of selections on June 28 followed by rounds 2-7 the next day.

Utah owns 13 picks in the draft, including No. 6 overall in the first round.

How to watch the 2024 NHL Draft

When

Round 1: Friday, June 28 at 5 p.m. (MT)

Rounds 2-7: Saturday, June 29 at 9:30 a.m. (MT)

 

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Television

Round 1: ESPN and ESPN+

Rounds 2-7: NHL Network and ESPN+

NHL Draft Order

RELATED: Top 2024 NHL Draft Prospects For Utah

The first round order of the draft is set to be the following:

  1. San Jose Sharks
  2. Chicago Blackhawks
  3. Anaheim Ducks
  4. Columbus Blue Jackets
  5. Montreal Canadiens
  6. Utah Hockey Club
  7. Ottawa Senators
  8. Seattle Kraken
  9. Calgary Flames
  10. New Jersey Devils
  11. Buffalo Sabres
  12. Philadelphia Flyers
  13. Minnesota Wild
  14. San Jose Sharks (from Pittsburgh)
  15. Detroit Red Wings
  16. St. Louis Blues
  17. Washington Capitals
  18. Chicago Blackhawks (from New York Islanders)
  19. Vegas Golden Knights
  20. New York Islanders (from Tampa Bay Lightning via Chicago Blackhawks)
  21. Los Angeles Kings
  22. Nashville Predators
  23. Toronto Maple Leafs
  24. Colorado Avalanche
  25. Ottawa Senators (from Boston Bruins via Detroit Red Wings)
  26. Montreal Canadiens (from Winnipeg Jets)
  27. Carolina Hurricanes
  28. Calgary Flames (from Vancouver Canucks)
  29. Dallas Stars
  30. New York Rangers
  31. Anaheim Ducks (from Edmonton Oilers)
  32. Philadelphia Flyers (from Florida Panthers)

Kyle Ireland is a Utah Hockey Club Insider for KSLSports.com. Follow him on X (@kyleireland), Threads (@kyleirelandksl), and Instagram (@kyleirelandksl).

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