Chayka tenders offers to 6 RFAs; Elkin departs; Dvorak report refuted
The Arizona Coyotes will send qualifying offers to six of their eight restricted free agents (Tucson Roadrunners included) before the 2 p.m. Arizona deadline on Monday, general manager John Chayka confirmed Sunday.
The six they will qualify are center Laurent Dauphin, defensemen Dakota Mermis and Trevor Murphy, forwards Hudson Fasching and Michael Bunting, and goalie Marek Langhamer.
The team will not send qualifying offers to forward Freddie Hamilton or goalie Sean Maguire, who was acquired along with forward Josh Archibald from Pittsburgh in December in a deal that sent goalie Michael Leighton to the Penguins. The Coyotes and Penguins also swapped Arizona’s fourth-round pick in 2019 for Pittsburgh’s sixth-round pick.
The Coyotes claimed Hamilton off waivers in January.
Dauphin, 23, the Coyotes’ second-round pick in 2013 (No. 39), had five goals and 15 points in 17 games for Tucson last season after the Coyotes re-acquired him from the Chicago Blackhawks along with forward Richard Panik for forward Anthony Duclair and defenseman Adam Clendening in January. He suffered a knee injury late in the season and likely won’t be ready for training camp.
Mermis, 24, had two goals and 19 points in 59 games for Tucson last season. He was not drafted.
Murphy, 22, had 10 goals and 35 points in 59 games split between Milwaukee and Tucson of the AHL. The Coyotes acquired Murphy and forward Pierre-Cedric Labrie from Milwaukee for forward Tyler Gaudet and defenseman John Ramage in February. He was not drafted.
Fasching had 12 goals and 30 points in 69 games for the Buffalo Sabres’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Rochester Americans, last season. The Los Angeles Kings selected him in the fourth round (No. 118) of the 2013 NHL Draft. The Coyotes acquired Fasching from the Sabres in exchange for the rights to defenseman Brandon Hickey and forward Mike Sislo on June 14.
Bunting, 22, the team’s fourth-round pick in 2014 (No. 117), had 23 goals and 43 points in 67 games for Tucson last season.
Langhamer, 23, the team’s seventh-round pick (No. 184) in 2012, was on loan to Kometa Brno of the Czech Extraliga last season, posting a 1.96 goals against average and a .924 save percentage.
Jon Elkin will not return as the Coyotes prospect goaltending coach next season, Coyotes assistant general manager Steve Sullivan confirmed on Sunday. The Coyotes have begun the search for his replacement and are also still working to find a new head coach for the Tucson Roadrunners after Mike Van Ryn accepted an assistant coaching job with the St. Louis Blues.
The Coyotes hired Elkin two seasons ago as their goalie coach, primarily to work with his longtime pupil, Mike Smith. They hired Corey Schwab as their prospect goaltending coach at the same time. Smith was traded to Calgary last summer, but Elkin began the 2017-18 season in the same position before the team opted to swap the two coaches, sending Elkin to Tucson to work with top prospects Adin Hill, Hunter Miska and Langhamer while Schwab became the Coyotes goalie coach.
With Coyotes starter Antti Raanta injured often over the first half of the season, backup goalie Louis Domingue struggled to replace him before being waived on Oct. 29. Elkin felt Domingue’s struggles played a role in his demotion.
“Relationships allow you some leeway, some opportunity to right the ship when things don’t go the way they should,” Elkin said. “I just wasn’t able to curry favor with the new coach.”
Elkin said coach Rick Tocchet was also looking for more from him.
“I think he was looking for a guy to do a lot of the assistant coach type of stuff and really, my thing is goaltending,” Elkin said. “I know hockey as it pertains to goaltending, but to break down systems and be a real asset outside of goaltending, that’s not my forte. My forte is goaltending and that just wasn’t enough. That’s his prerogative. He has to have people around him that he feels comfortable with. I understand that.”
While Elkin wanted to stay with the organization and expressed surprise that the team chose not to renew his contract (it expires on June 30), he emphasized how much he enjoyed working with the prospects in Tucson.
Elkin is back in his hometown of Toronto, where he just completed the first week of his goalie school, which runs until Labor Day.
“That’s my business and I love it, but hopefully I’ll get back with a team one day soon because I feel I have a lot to give and I enjoy the competitive aspect of it,” he said. “It was a good time while it lasted. We’ll see if something happens but nothing is firmed up, no interviews as of yet. Hopefully I’ll be back in the league. If I don’t have a job I’ll just go surfing.”
CHAYKA REFUTES DVORAK REPORT
A recent report from The Athletic suggested the Coyotes were engaged in trade discussions to send Max Domi to the Minnesota Wild. Coyotes GM John Chayka was talking with several teams prior to trading Domi to the Montreal Canadiens for Alex Galchenyuk, but he refuted the portion of the report from The Athletic that said center Christian Dvorak, 22, was part of those talks with the Wild.
“Dvorak was never discussed,” Chayka said. “Not accurate.”
For a team wanting to stockpile young centers, such a deal would have made little sense. Dvorak, the team’s second-round pick in 2012 (No. 58) had 15 goals and 37 points in 2017-18, his second NHL season.
— The Coyotes will host their prospect development camp at Gila River Arena from Monday through Friday.
— The Roadrunners signed forward Matteo Gennaro 21 to a one-year contract, the team announced Sunday. Gennaro (6-3, 198) had 42 goals and 79 points in the Western Hockey League this past season, splitting time with the Calgary Hitmen and Swift Current Broncos. He had nine goals and 18 points in 26 playoff games as Swift Current won the WHL Championship. The Winnipeg Jets selected him in the seventh round (No. 203) of the 2015 NHL Draft.
— The Coyotes announced they traded a conditional seventh-round draft pick to the Detriot Red Wings for defenseman Robbie Russo on Sunday. Russo scored 9-23-32 in 75 games with the Grand Rapids (AHL) last season. He was drafted in the fourth round (No. 95 overall) by the Red Wings in 2011.