GLENDALE – The Coyotes had 26 players on the roster for Saturday’s win over San Jose in the preseason finale and six players were scratched.
General Manager Don Maloney and his staff need to trim at least three players before noon (AZ time) on Wednesday. Maloney told me before Saturday’s game that he may slice it down to 22 players before all is said and done.
The Coyotes open the regular season on Oct. 8 at San Jose.
• Last year the Coyotes did some preseason team bonding thousands of miles from Phoenix in Prague. This year they are trying to bond much, much closer to home.
On Sunday, the team will head to nearby Prescott Valley as a group for a three-day stay that will include two practices at Tim’s Toyota Center on Monday and Tuesday.
Maloney told me he and Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving came up with the idea once they realized the league scheduled a week in between the preseason finale and the regular season opener.
“It seemed to make a lot of sense given the break we have (before the first game),” Maloney said. “They have a beautiful facility up there and we’re looking forward to it. A lot of teams are doing (similar trips) and it seemed to be the right thing for us.”
The trip will be a homecoming of sorts for Coyotes defenseman David Schlemko, who played for the Prescott Valley-based Arizona Sundogs in 2007-08.
• Andy Miele, the 2011 Hobey Baker Award winner, was among the five players the Coyotes assigned to the American Hockey League before Saturday’s game.
Maloney told me he thinks Miele will eventually make it to the NHL after some AHL seasoning.
“I have no doubt that he will,” Maloney said. “He’s smart. I think it will be good for him and when he gets back (to Phoenix) hopefully he can help us.”
Miele stood out at Rookie Camp but lost some steam – and confidence – after the veterans reported.
“He was hoping to do things instead of believing that he could do things,” Maloney said.
“I’ll be going over to Portland with a positive attitude,” he said. “I’ve got to stay confident out there and stick to my game and make plays. Hopefully, I’ll gain that confidence back down in Portland.”
• Forward Patrick O’Sullivan most likely has earned a roster spot by leading the Coyotes in scoring this preseason with seven points (two goals, five assists).
• Forward Paul Bissonnette left Saturday’s game midway through the second period after colliding with San Jose’s Torrey Mitchell. Bissonnette, who had to be helped off the ice, later returned to the game.
• Defenseman Nathan Oystrick, who has quietly had a nice camp and is challenging for a roster spot, led the Coyotes with five hits on Saturday.
• As expected, Head Coach Dave Tippett named Mike Smith the starting goalie for the season opener on Oct. 8 at San Jose. Smith stopped 65 of 70 shots in the preseason (.928).