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Arizona’s Barrett Hayton earns spot on Coyotes’ opening night roster

Before being selected by the coyotes with the No. 5 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, Barrett Hayton scored 21 goals and 60 points for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League. (Photo by Jade Hanson/Cronkite News)

Arizona Coyotes fans won’t have to wait long to see the team’s 2018 first round pick in action.

The Coyotes will have rookie center Barrett Hayton on their opening night roster when they take on the Dallas Stars, confirms 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Matt Layman.

In an interview with John Matisz of The Score, general manager John Chayka talked about adding Hayton to the lineup.

“He’s one of those guys who you think will keep getting better and better every single day,” Chayka said of the rookie. “He’s going to start off on our Opening Day roster and we’re just going to take it day by day here.

“He dealt with a bit of an injury, but he’s feeling pretty good and we’re just going to continue to evaluate our roster and try to put out the best players to give us the best chance to win. He’s in that mix.”

Injuries to centers Alex Galchenyuk and Christian Dvorak are a reason for the move as the team looks to fill holes on its NHL roster. According to the NHL media site, Galchenyuk was placed on the IR by the Coyotes this week. Hayton has also been dealing with an injury as he’s day-to-day with an upper body injury.

While he has been criticized for his lack of explosiveness on his first step, Hayton brings with him a strong hockey IQ and a heightened defensive ability. He’s been described as a two-way forward with comparisons to Boston top-line center Patrice Bergeron.

In his second season in the Ontario Hockey League last year, the fifth overall pick scored 21 goals with 39 assists in 63 games. He also had 8-13-21 in 24 games in the postseason.

The Coyotes will announce their 23-man roster Tuesday.

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