Coyotes GM Don Maloney likes this putting-the-band-back-together thing so much he added another familiar piece on Sunday. Arizona claimed forward Viktor Tikhonov off waivers from Chicago to add more depth up front.
Tikhonov was the Coyotes’ second, first-round pick in 2008 (28th overall), coming in the same draft they selected forward Mikkel Boedker eighth overall.
The Coyotes were at the 23-man roster limit, but they cleared room for Tikhonov by placing forward Shane Doan on injured reserve on Sunday. Doan has been dealing with a groin injury off and on since training camp. His IR designation was applied retroactively to the last time he played (Nov. 21) so he is eligible to come off IR whenever he’s ready. Doan has missed the last seven games.
Tikhonov is currently in Chicago. Maloney said he is expected to join the team on Monday for the final game of this five-game road trip on Tuesday in St. Louis. Tikhonov was packing Sunday and will address the media on Monday.
Tikhonov, 27, never found a permanent role in Chicago, playing just 11 games with the Blackhawks this season after signing a one-year, one-way deal for 1,040,000 (a deal the Coyotes will assume) in July. He had eight goals and 16 assists in 49 games for SKA St. Petersburg last season. The team won its first Kontinental Hockey League title in April.
After playing 61 games with the Coyotes in 2008-09 (eight goals, 16 points), Tikhonov, 27, spent the following two seasons with the club’s AHL affiliate in San Antonio before returning to Russia when he couldn’t reach an agreement with the Coyotes. He spent the last four seasons with SKA Saint Petersburg.
The Coyotes had interest in signing Tikhonov this summer while they still owned his rights until July 1, one month after his KHL contract expired. Maloney had already brought back center Antoine Vermette and defenseman Zbynek Michalek after trading them in trade deadline deals last season.
When Chicago acquired center Artem Anisimov from Columbus in the Brandon Saad deal, however, and also brought in forward Artemi Panarin, Tikhonov liked the idea of playing with a pair of friends and fellow Russians so he signed with Chicago.
“I didn’t think it was out of the realm of possibility that he would go to Phoenix last summer because the Desert Dogs were one of his three finalists,” Tikhonov’s agent, Thomas Lynn said. “He would have been happy to go there.”
The Coyotes’ American Hockey League affiliate is dealing with some injuries at the forward position. Henrik Samuelsson had season-ending ankle surgery and Jordan Szwarz has a broken foot, so Tikhonov is expected to fill a depth role.
“He is smart,” coach Dave Tippett said via text.
Tikhonov (6-foot-2, 189 pounds) is the grandson of Viktor Vasilyevich Tikhonov, the famed and late Soviet ice hockey player and coach. His father was Vasily Tikhonov, who was also a hockey coach.
“He’s a stabilizing force who doesn’t make mistakes and is always in the right place; a coach’s son,” Lynn said. “I think Tip will like that.”