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Coyotes GM Maloney: Roster may not be set

Coyotes GM Don Maloney, pictured in this file photo, and team leadership held a town hall meeting Saturday. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

The Arizona Coyotes trimmed their roster to 23 players on Sunday, sending 2015 first-round pick Dylan Strome to Eerie of the OHL while re-assigning forward Matthias Plachta and goalie Louis Domingue to Springfield of the AHL.

While Arizona’s roster is at the NHL limit for opening night, the 23 men now in camp aren’t set in stone when the Coyotes open the season on Friday in Los Angeles against the Kings.

“This is a very fluid situation,” general manager Don Maloney said Sunday night. “It’s not like we’re just sitting here with our feet up now that we have 23 players selected.

“The 23 players we have here now are not necessarily the 23 players that will be here on Friday.”

With every other NHL team due to make its final roster decisions by Tuesday’s deadline, Maloney said the Coyotes will pore over the list of cuts, as well as the waiver wire and trade options, to see if there are other opportunities.

“Everyone knows the kind of season we had last year,” he said. “We can’t afford to sit back if there is an opportunity to improve our roster.”

Some big names have already hit the streets, including Chicago forward Bryan Bickell in whom the Coyotes have no interest. The Coyotes could be looking to upgrade their blue line with another puck-moving defenseman. They could also be looking for more scoring help after a preseason in which they scored just four goals in six games.

Despite that deficiency, Maloney echoed coach Dave Tippett’s thoughts when discussing the decision to send 2015 first-round pick Dylan Strome back to Erie of the Ontario Hockey League.

“When we got into the preseason games with the size and pace of the NHL game, he wasn’t quite there and it just made sense to give him more time,” Maloney said.

Maloney said it was tempting to give Strome a nine-game trial (the limit before burning the first year of his entry-level contract), but Strome’s physical immaturity tipped the scales in favor of caution and prudence.

“You get so concerned with injuries to young, physically immature players,” Maloney said. “All of the sudden he takes a hit to the shoulder and he’s out two to three months. Then you’ve retarded his development.

“This was a long-term decision for the franchise.”

The Coyotes are off Monday before resuming practice on Tuesday in preparation for the season opener.

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