‘Yotes Notes: Rick Tocchet wants more from Tobias Rieder
Coyotes forward Tobias Rieder was a healthy scratch in Tuesday’s 4-3 loss at Winnipeg, the first game he has missed all season and just the third he has missed in the last three seasons.
Rieder has six goals and 14 points in 52 games, which puts him below the pace he set the last two seasons when he averaged 15 goals and 35.5 points. He has just one assist since New Year’s Eve — a stretch of 12 games — but coach Rick Tocchet said his absence from the lineup was about more than a lack of production.
“It’s not so much his scoring,” Tocchet said. “He’s got to get inside the dots. He just hasn’t really done much.
“It could have been a few guys that sat out, but sometimes a guy needs time to sit out, take a breath, look at the game from up top, have a good one-on-one practice and then reboot.
“He’ll eventually get back in. I don’t know if it will be [Thursday] night, but I don’t think that a lot of guys should feel comfortable on our team. We should have more of an attitude that it’s hard to play in the NHL and stay in the NHL. If we have that attitude we might see a higher level of play from certain guys.”
TRADE BAIT OR NORMAL GM TALKS
A report from the New York Post last week suggested the Coyotes had let other teams know that struggling forward Max Domi was “there for the taking” in a trade. Coyotes general manager John Chayka called that an inaccurate portrayal of the situation.
“Teams ask about him because of his struggles,” Chayka said.
In other words, this was just a publicized part of what constitutes typical GM chat throughout the season.
Chayka said he is not shopping Domi but he said he would “listen on anything.” That said, Domi has just three goals and is shooting just 2.8 percent so his market value has dropped. It wouldn’t make sense to trade a player for less than what Chayka believes is fair value.
Chayka continues to maintain that he doesn’t expect to be active at the Feb. 26 trade deadline, expecting only minor tweaks unless a team offers him an opportunity get significantly better.
The only two players that are likely untouchable at the trade deadline are defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and forward Clayton Keller.
Scott Wedgewood gave the Coyotes much needed stability at the backup goalie position earlier this season, filling in while Antti Raanta was out. In his past eight appearances, however, his numbers have ballooned. In those eight games, Wedgewood has allowed 35 goals on 230 shots for an .848 save percentage.
“He knows he has to play better,” Tocchet said. “At certain times he’s been good, and at certain times there are some goals that he would like to have back.”
The Coyotes are going to need Wedgewood down the stretch. They play five sets of back-to-back games over the final nine weeks of the season, and the schedule is condensed in March and April when they play 20 games in 38 days.
— The Coyotes assigned defenseman Kyle Capobianco to the Tucson Roadrunners Wednesday night. Tocchet said defenseman Jason Demers is ready to return to the lineup. Demers has missed the past three games with an upper-body injury.
— After Thursday’s game in St. Paul, the Coyotes will play nine of their next 10 games at Gila River Arena, and 13 of their next 17.
Coyotes at Wild
When: 6 p.m., Thursday
Where: Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minn.
TV: FOX Sports Arizona
Radio: ESPN 620 AM
Records: Wild — 29-19-5. Coyotes — 12-32-9.
Injury report: Wild — D Jonas Brodin (hand) will miss three to four weeks. F Chris Stewart (ill) is day-to-day. Coyotes — D Jason Demers (IR, upper body) is day-to-day.
Wild scouting report: Minnesota is 7-2-1 its past 10 games. … F Mikael Granlund has 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in his past 17 games. … F Eric Staal has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in his past eight games. … G Devan Dubnyk is 6-1-1 with a 2.38 goals-against average and .920 save percentage in his past nine games (eight starts). … Staal leads the team with 23 goals and 48 points.