Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun to play Tuesday
Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun will come off injured reserve and make his season debut on Tuesday against the Detroit Red Wings, reports 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro.
The Coyotes confirmed Tuesday that Chychrun will play, per coach Rick Tocchet.
Chychrun has been recovering from offseason knee surgery and started the season on injured reserve, and despite showing signs of unusually fast recovery, the team erred on the sign of caution and stuck to a normal timetable of rehabilitation.
Chychrun is expected to play on a pairing with veteran Niklas Hjalmarsson.
Arizona sent defenseman Dakota Mermis back to AHL Tucson on Sunday night, as he had been up with the team as a depth option. Before the start of the trip, defensemen Alex Goligoski and Jason Demers had taken “maintenance days” as they were slightly banged up. Demers did not miss any of the first three games on the trip, while Goligoski missed both games in the back-to-back over the weekend.
Mermis’ departure means that Chychrun’s return will not immediately require a roster move, though there may be a logjam on the blueline.
Chychrun, Goligoski, Hjalmarsson, Demers, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Ilya Lyubushkin, Jordan Oesterle and Kevin Connauton make for eight defensemen. According to CapFriendly, Lyubushkin is the only waivers-exempt player on the Coyotes defense, meaning he can be sent to Tucson without having to clear waivers first.
Even if Lyubushkin — or someone else — is removed from the roster, the team will still face the choice of sitting a defenseman each night, since they will be carrying seven defensemen.
In 118 NHL games over two seasons, Chychrun has averaged 18:11 of ice time per game and has scored 11 goals with 23 assists. Last season in 50 games, Chychrun he scored 4-10-14 with a plus-2 rating.