Five rookies make Coyotes’ opening-night roster
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Shane Doan has a message for the five rookies who just made the Coyotes’ opening-night, 23-man roster.
“You’re here but that’s not the end goal,” said Doan, who turned 40 on Monday. “Sometimes it’s hard to keep that in perspective when your whole dream was to play in the NHL and now you’re in the NHL. Don’t forget to enjoy that because it’s amazing and incredible, but take the next step, contribute to the team and be one of the guys that they count on to contribute every night.
“If you’re just happy to be here it’s going to be a lot shorter stay than you dreamed about.”
The next wave of the Coyotes’ promising future arrived with force when centers Dylan Strome, Christian Dvorak, Laurent Dauphin, left wing Lawson Crouse and left defenseman Jakob Chychrun all made the 23-man roster the Coyotes submitted to the league by Tuesday’s 2 p.m. deadline (Arizona time).
With forwards Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, Jordan Martinook and goalie Louis Domingue having made the jump last season, the Coyotes have eight forwards on their roster who are 24 or younger (six of them are 21 or younger), they have three defenseman 25 or younger and Domingue (24).
“I feel older and older,” quipped 25-year-old defenseman Oliver Ekman Larsson. “They have been pushing for jobs this camp and doing a really good job. At the same time, we need them to do that to improve as a team.”
Off all the rookies to make the roster, Strome has been the most anticipated since the Coyotes drafted him third overall in 2015.
“It’s where we wanted to be,” Strome said. “Now it’s about getting in the lineup and playing every day and being a good pro. Hopefully, I can get into some games and show them that I deserve to be a pro for the whole year.”
Strome, Crouse and Chychrun are not AHL eligible, so coach Dave Tippett and general manager John Chayka will have to decide whether each deserves to maintain his roster spot or return to juniors once they have played the maximum nine games allowed before they burn the first year of their entry-level contract.
“We still have the opportunity with the 10-game rule to see where players are,” coach Dave Tippett said. “I’m not looking at it as 10 games right now. They made the team (because) they’re good enough to be here and play, so I’m not looking at it as ‘OK, we’re going to count it down to 10.
“They’re good players right now and we really haven’t been in a situation where we’ve had a lot of players like that that are ready to play at that level.”
To whittle the roster to 23, the Coyotes placed defensemen Kevin Connauton and Michael Stone on the injured non-roster list, which allows them to come off whenever they are ready. Tippett said both are close, but an exact timeline has not been set. He also said recently signed forward Tobias Rieder would report to camp on Wednesday after resolving his visa issues, and wing Jamie McGinn is day to day with an upper-body injury.
The Coyotes lost Klas Dahlbeck on Tuesday when he was claimed by Carolina off waivers.
“He’s a big, steady defensive defenseman and he’s got some NHL experience; improves our depth,” Carolina assistant GM Rick Olczyk said by phone. “There’s upside to him. He’s only 25, he’s a real good person and he can play both sides. It gives us flexibility in our organization.”
With Dahlbeck gone and defenseman Jarred Tinordi still suspended four more games for violating the league and players’ association policy on substance abuse, Zbynek Michalek, who cleared waivers on Tuesday, is currently the team’s seventh defenseman. Michalek was clearly disappointed about the waiver move and said he’s not sure what his role is going forward.
“You have to ask Tip or John and they would probably answer you better on that,” he said. “I don’t have that answer right now.
“They told me as of now I’m staying with the team but it can change in the next hour or so. You see what’s going on around the league. Everyone knows that the league is getting younger. At the same time, I feel like I can play and I feel that I can help this team. It’s really disappointing that they don’t see it the same way.”
In another expected move, the Coyotes placed center Dave Bolland on long-term injured reserve, giving them cap flexibility. Retired defenseman Chris Pronger’s cap hit could also be used on LTIR later this season if the Coyotes need it.
Here is the full 23-man roster. The Coyotes open the regular season against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Gila River Arena.
Number Player Position
2 Luke Schenn Defense
4 Zbynek Michalek Defense
5 Connor Murphy Defense
6 Jakob Chychrun Defense
8 Tobias Rieder Right Wing
10 Anthony Duclair Right Wing
11 Martin Hanzal Center
15 Brad Richardson Center
16 Max Domi Left Wing
17 Radim Vrbata Right Wing
18 Christian Dvorak Center
19 Shane Doan Right Wing
20 Dylan Strome Center
21 Jamie McBain Defense
23 Oliver Ekman-Larsson Defense
25 Ryan White Left Wing
33 Alex Goligoski Defense
35 Louis Domingue Goalie
41 Mike Smith Goalie
48 Jordan Martinook Left Wing
67 Lawson Crouse Left Wing
76 Laurent Dauphin Center
88 Jamie McGinn Left Wing