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Coyotes’ Alex Galchenyuk suffers lower-body injury, will be re-evaluated

Arizona Coyotes center Alex Galchenyuk (17) celebrates his goal as Los Angeles Kings right wing Tyler Toffoli (73) skates past during the first period of an NHL preseason hockey game Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Coyotes may be without a key offseason trade acquisition for a time as Alex Galchenyuk has suffered a lower-body injury and will be re-evaluated next week.

“Alex is going to meet with our medical team, he’s got some evalutation. We’ll know something next week with him,” Tocchet said Friday. “From experience with injuries, every player’s different. Some players are longer than others. We’ve got some doctors here that will re-evaluate next week.”

Galchenyuk, 24, projected to slot into the center position to join Derek Stepan, Christian Dvorak, Dylan Strome, Brad Richardson and Nick Cousins as other players on the team’s roster that are likely to see time at center this year. He was acquired this offseason after general manager John Chayka sent Max Domi to the Montreal Canadiens in a one-for-one trade.

Tocchet added that forward Dylan Strome is day-to-day with an upper-body injury and first-round pick Barrett Hayton is in concussion protocol after getting “dinged” on Tuesday in the preseason. The Coyotes are already without Christian Dvorak for an unspecified period of time.

All of this means that a team that appeared to have a number of options at the center position now could be thin in that very spot, at least for a brief time.

“There’s some bingo balls in there, I’ll tell you that,” Tocchet said. “Hey, that’s the world we live in. I know it’s the corny cliché, next man up. But there’s opportunities for some younger guys to get in there. It’s just one of those things. Hopefully hold the fort until the calvary comes back and that’s the attitude.

“But we still have enough people here to establish something.”

Galchenyuk had limited opportunity to play center in Montreal near the end of his time there, but said he expected to at least get the opportunity to show his abilities playing that position in Arizona. He also figured to be an important part of the offense, given that he has scored 108 goals in 418 NHL games and lit the lamp 30 times in 2015-16.

“I know I’m going to have a chance to go out there and play center,” he told reporters at the team’s media day on Sept. 13. “I’ve been training and working hard all summer for it and I can’t wait to get started.”

The former third overall pick by Montreal played a home game at Gila River Arena for the first time on Tuesday in the team’s preseason home opener, scoring two goals – one on the power play and one at even strength.

“Alex [Galchenyuk] had a gun – I mean that’s a high-level shot there,” head coach Rick Tocchet said after that game. “Getting pucks to the net, that’s something that we’ve got to get better at than last year, I thought we didn’t shoot the puck as much. Now that acquiring a couple guys that can shoot the puck, it’s really going to help our power play.”

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