‘Yotes Notes: Chychrun undergoes knee surgery, out indefinitely
The Coyotes announced on Thursday that defenseman Jakob Chychrun underwent successful surgery to repair a knee injury that he suffered this week during offseason training. A press release from the team said Chychrun is expected to make a full recovery but will be out indefinitely.
The Coyotes declined to provide any further comment on the injury, including a timeline or the nature of the injury. The team will provide a further update once training camp begins on Sept. 14.
Chychrun had seven goals and 20 points in 68 games in a surprise rookie season in which he made the roster unexpectedly after a terrific camp. If Chychrun isn’t ready for the start of camp or the season (Oct. 5), the Coyotes may be forced to keep Alex Goligoski on the left side with either Luke Schenn or Adam Clendening as a second-pairing partner, while Kevin Connauton mans the left side on the third pairing.
WHY THE DELAY IN SIGNING DUCLAIR?
Anthony Duclair has been a restricted free agent for 34 days. All of the Coyotes’ other restricted free agents are signed and their shopping list in the unrestricted market also appears complete.
So what’s taking so long to get the third-year right wing under contract?
“The easy answer is that Duclair didn’t have a good year, but the truth is that same question can be asked of a lot of players in similar situations this summer,” said Coyotes president of hockey operations and general manager John Chayka, who spoke to Arizona Sports before the news of Chychrun’s injury was announced. “Why isn’t Leon Draisaitl, who had a great year, signed? Why isn’t David Pastrnak signed?
“I don’t think there are any real issues. I’m confident it will happen. Some deals just taking longer but we’ve been working at it. A lot of deals feel like they’re never going to get done and then they get done in short order.”
Duclair’s agent, Kent Hughes has consistently said his talks with Chayka have been productive and positive, so neither side is indicating any sort of acrimony. While Duclair only managed five goals last season after a 20-goal rookie season, Chayka said he is still an important part of the team’s future.
“Our main goal is to get Anthony back on the horse and playing his game,” Chayka said. “When he’s doing that, he’s a very impactful player. Scoring goals is the hardest thing in this league to do and he’s done it at every level.”
The Coyotes still have six weeks to forge a deal. Veterans report for training camp on Sept. 14.
NEW ECHL AFFILIATE
The Coyotes announced a one-year agreement with the Fort Wayne Komets of the ECHL on Monday. The team had been affiliated with the Rapid City Rush City Rush since 2015 when the team signed a one-year agreement, and then extended it a year the following season.
The Minnesota Wild announced an affiliation with Rapid City on June 19. Chayka said the switch was made because the Komets felt like a better fit.
“Fort Wayne was just the best fit for our group to go down and play for some good coaches, and they have one of the highest attendance figures in the ECHL so they’ll be playing in a great environment,” said Chayka of the Komets, who led the ECHL with 7,568 fans per game. “When you get a pipeline of prospects like we have, you might run out of space or ice time in the AHL. Rather than having them play fourth-line minutes or sit in the stands, you give them more opportunity to develop their game. It’s no different than baseball where you have double-A and triple-A.”
The Komets have made the ECHL playoffs in four of the five seasons since joining the league.
MCDAVID & THE STROMES
In an interview with SportsNet, Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid talked about his close relationship with the Strome family, including new teammate Ryan Strome and former Erie Otters teammate Dylan Strome, the Coyotes’ top center prospect.
“I got pretty close to the family, playing with Dylan,” McDavid said. “Dylan’s still a great friend of mine today.”
You can watch the full interview by following this link.
SCOUTING THE PROSPECTS
Chayka got a chance to scout Swedish defenseman Filip Westerlund (Frölunda), the team’s 2017 second-round pick (44th overall), and prospect development camp attendee Max Gerlach (Medicine Hat, WHL), an American forward, at the World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, Michigan this week.
“Westerlund was excellent,” Chayka said. “He’s a guy we drafted because he’s a smart defender. He has high-end defensive instincts and can play against top lines, but he showed a pretty good flair with the puck and made a lot of smart, high-end plays.”
“Gerlach is a productive, undersized guy we brought into camp, but he had a good camp with the US team and played well so that was good to see.”
Gerlach scored his third goal of the tournament in a split-squad win over Canada on Tuesday.
The Calgary Flames announced on Thursday that former Coyotes GM Don Maloney has been named vice president of hockey operations. Maloney originally joined the Flames in 2016 as a pro scout after nine seasons as the Coyotes’ GM.
“I’ll be working with [GM] Brad [Treliving] and his hockey staff in all areas of hockey operations,” Maloney said via text message. “Pro, amateur and free-agent scouting, minor league team and player development, staffing, long-term planning, etc.”
— Just as he did last week, Terry Bross, the agent for former Coyotes captain and unsigned free agent Shane Doan, said there is no change in status for Doan. Bross said he has talked with four or five teams about a contract for Doan next season, but he did not name the teams or elaborate on what sort of roles those teams might be offering. Bross said it’s possible Doan won’t make a decision on his future until right before training camp begins in mid-September.
“Slow market for veterans,” Bross said. “Lots of tire kicking.”
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