‘Yotes Notes: Chayka says Chychrun’s injury ‘definitely not season-ending’
Coyotes general manager John Chayka checked in this week on defenseman Jakob Chychrun, who is rehabilitating from knee surgery in Philadelphia. While Chayka did not elaborate on the nature of Chychrun’s initial injury, he offered a glimpse of the timeline for the defenseman’s return.
Chayka said it is unlikely that Chychrun will be ready for the start of the season on Oct. 5, but he confirmed earlier statements by coach Rick Tocchet that Chychrun will return at some point this season.
“It’s definitely not season-ending,” Chayka said. “He’s progressing really well, rehabbing with top people. It’s really about how his body responds but the things he’s doing right now in his rehab are pretty amazing.”
With Chychrun likely sidelined for the start of the season, Chayka said the Coyotes will explore filling the seventh blue line spot in a number of ways, including looking at AHL All-Star defensemen Kyle Wood, and veterans Andrew Campbell and Joel Hanley, all of whom are under contract with the Tucson Roadrunners.
While it’s possible another prospect could earn a shot at camp, the Coyotes are also eyeing potential candidates for professional tryouts (PTOs). Nothing has been finalized.
Chayka said some of the candidates at whom he is looking are still hoping to sign contracts with NHL teams before training camp begins on Sept. 14.
Other teams have started to announce their PTOs, including Vancouver, which signed a former Coyote on Tuesday, but Chayka said the Coyotes will likely only look at defensemen for PTOs.
“We’ve got a lot of young forwards battling for spots and we want to give them opportunities,” Chayka said. “If you bring a guy in on a PTO, you want to give him a chance to showcase himself or he might as well be someplace else.”
When considering which defenseman might fill Chychrun’s spot, Chayka said he is intrigued by Wood, who has been working all summer with skating coach Dawn Braid to shore up his biggest deficiency.
“In many ways, he’s got more of a resume than some of our young prospects that haven’t played professional hockey yet,” Chayka said. “We’ll get a better sense of where he is at camp.”
INSIDE THE SCHEDULE
When the NHL released the 2017-18 schedule in June, much of the focus was on the dates for big-name clubs’ visits, and the number of back-to-back sets (the Coyotes play a lower-end 13).
Here are two more numbers to keep in mind. Arizona will log the fourth-most travel miles in the NHL (46,856), behind Colorado (48,639), Calgary (47,931) and Chicago (47,926), according to On the Forecheck’s annual super schedule. The Coyotes also have a slight advantage in number of rested games played against tired teams, vs. tired games against rested teams.
— There is no change in the status of negotiations with restricted free agent right wing Anthony Duclair with just over two weeks until players are due to report for training camp.
— If you’re looking for a candidate to slide from the left wing to the right wing to fill a hole, Jamie McGinn is a candidate. Chayka had hoped to acquire a right wing this offseason after bringing in center Derek Stepan, defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson and goalie Antti Raanta. He remains opens to that possibility, but expects that the current group is the one with which the Coyotes will report to camp, minus the aforementioned PTOs.
— Tocchet had his day with the Stanley Cup on Sunday with friends and family in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Tocchet termed the outing the symbolic end of his three-year tenure as an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins, who won the Cup the last two seasons.
“It’s a hard feeling because I love that organization, had a lot of success there, (made) a ton of friends,” Tocchet told NHL.com. “But it’s closure for me. Now I’m an Arizona Coyote.”