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Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman: Coyotes had a ‘huge summer’

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

After finishing the second half of the 2017-18 season strong, the Arizona Coyotes had an active offseason as they look to improve a young roster.

The Coyotes’ transactions caught the attention of Sportsnet hockey reporter and co-host of ’31 Thoughts: The Podcast’ Elliotte Friedman.

“I think they’ve had a huge summer. They got Oliver Ekman-Larsson to commit, they got (Niklas) Hjalmarsson on a two-year extension that’s really good,” Friedman said on his podcast. “Hjalmarsson could have easily gotten more than two years next year if he goes out on the market.”

General manager John Chayka has been active re-signing key players and trading for others heading into his third season. Extending Ekman-Larsson showed the team’s commitment to a player it drafted and developed and who has performed well during his tenure.

Friedman was intrigued by the acqusition of Alex Galchenyuk from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Max Domi on June 15.

Galchenyuk struggled during his tenure in Montreal for numerous reasons. He expressed frustration in not playing at the end of close games, and the Canadiens believed he was listening to his father more than the coaching staff.

Friedman believes playing for Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet will help Galchenyuk capitalize on his talent and give him playing time at center ice.

“Rick Tocchet is a guy who empowers people. He empowered Phil Kessel– he found a way to make that work. I’m curious to see what he will do Galchenyuk.  I’m not convinced he’s a center but that doesn’t mean he can’t score,” Freidman said.

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