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Arizona Coyotes cut five players Wednesday

A shot from Arizona Coyotes' Justin Hodgeman, not pictured, gets past San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi (31), of Finland, for a goal as Coyotes' Henrik Samuelsson (15) and Sharks' Justin Braun (61) watch during the first period of an NHL preseason hockey game Friday, Sept. 26, 2014, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Coyotes reduced their roster by five more players on Wednesday, assigning forwards Henrik Samuelsson, Jordan Szwarz, defensemen Philip Samuelsson and Derek Smith to their American Hockey league affiliate in Springfield, Mass., while releasing defenseman Corey Potter form his professional tryout contract.

The Coyotes have 26 players in camp — three above the limit they must reach by Tuesday. Coach Dave Tippett said the final cuts would be made after Friday’s preseason finale against San Jose.

Goalie Louis Domingue will be one of those players with Mike Smith and Anders Lindback set at the starting and backup spots. Among the other possibilities are forwards Matthias Plachta, Anthony Duclair, Jordan Martinook and center Dylan Strome, unless the Coyotes decide to waive or trade veterans.

Tippett said the organization plans to talk to Potter about his future, likely meaning the team could sign him to a minor-league contract.

Tippett said injuries hurt Szwarz and Henrik Samuelsson’s chance to separate themselves from the pack at camp.

“I think Henrik’s a guy who will go down and start to put up some numbers,” Tippett said. “He’ll push for a spot here.”

Tippett said he saw improvement in a number of areas for the 2012 first-round pick (27th overall).

“Improvement in his skating; improvement in his strength. His fitness tests were all much better this year. He’s coming,” Tippett said. “It’s not an easy process for a young guy. Henrik has to go down and continue to build his game.”

By releasing three defensemen, the Coyotes settled on their opening-night seven, with Oliver Ekman-Larsson playing alongside Michael Stone, Nicklas Grossmann playing alongside Connor Murphy and Klas Dahlbeck playing alongside Zbynek Michalek with Stefan Elliott as the seventh man.

Tippett said Elliott separated himself from the others with his puck-moving ability and offensive upside. The Coyotes will continue to experiment with him on the power play.

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