GLENDALE, Ariz. — Brendan Perlini offered an honest assessment of his training camp when he spoke to general manager Don Maloney on Sunday. He told Maloney he hadn’t done enough to make the team.
Unfortunately for 2014 first-round pick, the Coyotes agreed. Perlini was one of 11 players Arizona released or re-assigned on Sunday as it trimmed its roster to 31 players — eight more than the 23-man limit with which the team will likely open the season.
Arizona sent Perlini, 19, back to juniors with Niagara of the Ontario Hockey League. The Coyotes also sent center Christian Dvorak to London of the OHL.
Arizona assigned left wing Craig Cunningham, injured center Tyler Gaudet, goaltender Marek Langhamer, left wing Lucas Lessio, defenseman Dakota Mermis, center Brendan Shinnimin and goaltender Niklas Treutle to their American Hockey League affiliate in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Gaudet will need a couple more weeks of recovery time before he can resume playing.
The Coyotes also released defenseman Keith Aulie (fractured wrist) and right wing Patrick Dwyer from their professional tryout agreements.
Coyotes coach Dave Tippett hopes the additional year of juniors will help Perlini just as it helped Max Domi develop his all-around game.
“Players know when they’re ready,” Tippett said. “He’s got a dynamic part to his game with his skating and scoring, but he’s got to be able to do that at the next level before he can play. Those things weren’t happening in camp or in the preseason games.”
Perlini missed 25 games last season at Niagara with a fractured bone in his hand, but Tippett doesn’t think that impacted his development. The Coyotes coach would, however, like to see Perlini fill out a little more in his upper body.
Perlini was the biggest name among the camp casualties on Sunday, but Tippett also offered thoughts on a few others.
A logjam at center hampered Dvorak’s efforts to make the roster. The Coyotes already have four proven NHL players (along with Kyle Chipchura and Joe Vitale).
“He’s a very mature player who thinks the game very well but to make this team he would have to come in and really be way better than one of the other guys and he’s not at that pace yet,” Tippett said of Dvorak. “He can still develop and hopefully go play for the U.S. World Junior team.”
Tippett still views Lessio as a player in the mix for a roster spot. He will probably shuttle back and forth from Springfield this season depending on need, as will Shinnimin. The improved play of Jordan Martinook robbed Lessio of a chance to make the roster out of camp, however, and Tippett would like Lessio to use Martinook as an example for how to approach this season.
As for the remaining eight cuts that must be made by opening night, it’s fair to assume that goaltender Louis Domingue will be one of them, but Tippett said the team is still trying to determine the best mix for depth on defense, which is why Corey Potter, Derek Smith and Philip Samuelsson are all still in camp. The forward cuts will be the most difficult with Martinook, Matthias Plachta, Henrik Samuelsson, Jordan Szwarz and Dylan Strome all on the bubble.
In other news, Tippett said center Brad Richardson and wing Anthony Duclair are nursing minor injuries and won’t play Monday in Vancouver. Both are possibilities for Tuesday in Edmonton. The Coyotes conclude the preseason against San Jose on Friday at Gila River Arena.