Coyotes have found success despite numerous injuries

Mar 29, 2019, 5:16 PM
Arizona Coyotes right wing Michael Grabner, right, falls to the ice due to injury as St. Louis Blue...
Arizona Coyotes right wing Michael Grabner, right, falls to the ice due to injury as St. Louis Blues left wing Sammy Blais, left, skates past during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

With the NHL regular season winding down, the Coyotes find themselves right in the thick of the wild card race in the Western Conference. When looking back at the season as a whole, though, it’s impressive that they have been able to make it this far at all.

As of March 22, the Coyotes have had the second-most games missed due to injury in the entire league, with many of those being from key contributors. Despite this, they have been able to fight their way to the edge of a playoff berth.

Here are all of the significant injuries that the Coyotes have had to endure this season:

Alex Galchenyuk: 10 games

The injury bug first bit the Coyotes during the preseason, and it got their prized offseason acquisition in Galchenyuk.

The 30-year-old, who was acquired by the Coyotes in a trade with the Canadiens during the offseason, suffered a lower-body injury during a preseason game against the Kings on Sept. 18. He missed the first seven games of the season before debuting with the team on Oct. 23 against the Blue Jackets.

Galchenyuk has stayed healthy from then on out, only missing three games since his return. He has provided some pretty solid production as well, as he is currently tied for the team lead in goals with 17 and is third on the team in points with 39.

Vinnie Hinostroza: 10 games

Like Galchenyuk, Hinostroza also missed 10 games with a lower-body injury, but this one was suffered after the season was already underway.

Hinostroza went down during the Coyotes’ game against the Capitals on Dec. 6 and ended up missing three weeks before returning on Dec. 29.

After his injury, Hinostroza picked up right where he left off, recording 22 points in 40 games since his return. He currently is fourth on the team in points on the season with 34.

Derek Stepan: 10 games

The most recent injury victim for the Coyotes was Stepan, who got hurt on Feb. 28 during a game against the Canucks. At the time, it looked like he would miss a lot more time than he did.

The veteran went down after an awkward exchange against the boards during the third period of that game and immediately grabbed his left knee in pain. It was reported that Stepan would miss four to six weeks shortly after, but he managed to make it back a little ahead of schedule when he returned to action on March 23.

Stepan has played in three games since then, and is still looking for his first point since returning.

Brad Richardson: 16 games

Shortly after Hinostroza returned, the Coyotes lost another forward, this one being Brad Richardson.

Richardson hurt his hand on Jan. 10, and was forced to wear a cast that kept him out of action for five weeks. He made his return to the team on Feb. 14, and has stayed in the lineup ever since.

This injury has not slowed down what has been a career year for the 34-year-old Richardson, as his 17 goals have him tied with Galchenyuk for the team lead. He has also blown past his season-high total of 14 that he set all the way back in the 2006-07 season.

Jakob Chychrun: 25 games

Chychrun’s injury woes extend back to last season, and they have been present throughout this whole season as well.

The 20-year-old hurt his knee right before the end of last season, which kept him out of the first 16 games of 2018. He suffered an upper-body injury in his first game back which caused him to miss two more games, and two months later, a lower-body injury forced him to miss even more time.

Chychrun is still fourth in points among defenseman on the team with 20, but has struggled as of late and lost his spot in the lineup for the home stretch.

Michael Grabner: 41 games

Grabner had perhaps the ugliest looking injury out of these, as he caught an errant stick to the face on Dec. 1 that left his eye swollen shut and kept him out of action for three full months until his return on March 7.

Grabner has played well in his limited action this season, which includes setting the single-season franchise record for penalty kill goals with six.

Jason Demers: 47 games

Demers was the first in a long line of knee injuries for the Coyotes this season, as he went down after an exchange in front of the net on Nov. 15 against the Predators.

It was originally reported that Demers would miss the entire season, but he managed to return to the lineup on March 5. He has played in 12 games since coming back, and has recorded a plus/minus of +6 in that time.

Christian Dvorak: 62 games

Dvorak has been perhaps the most snake-bitten player on the Coyotes’ roster this year, as he has had to come back from two separate injuries in the span of a couple of months.

Dvorak started the season on the shelf because of a lower-body injury that he suffered at the end of last season, and while recovering from that in mid-October, he suffered a torn pectoral muscle that required surgery.

At the time, the Coyotes feared Dvorak would miss the entire season, but he ended up returning to the team on Feb. 26. He hasn’t shown any signs of rust since coming back, as he has already recorded six points in 15 games.

Nick Schmaltz: 38 games and counting

Schmaltz didn’t start the year in Arizona, but he fell to the Coyotes’ injury curse nonetheless.

Schmaltz came over from the Blackhawks via trade on Nov. 25, and immediately came out of the gates strong with 14 points in 17 games. He went down with a knee injury on Dec. 30, though, and was ruled out for the remainder of the season a week later.

Antti Raanta: 65 games and counting

Raanta’s past seasons have been full of injuries, and this season was no different.

The Coyotes’ goalie was originally sidelined after suffering a lower-body injury on Nov. 2, which kept him out for three weeks. He returned on Nov. 23 and played in three games before falling victim to the same injury, which was discovered to be worse than they had originally thought during a procedure done on Dec. 8.

Raanta was thought to be lost for the season, but he has returned to practice and traveled with the team to Colorado for their game against the Avalanche on Friday. Even if he is able to return, though, he would serve as the backup to Darcy Kuemper, who has filled in superbly this season.


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