Jason Brough

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Chychrun, 18, expected to remain with Coyotes

Jakob Chychrun is a big kid. He’s only 18, but at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, he’s not your typical teenager.

The fact Chychrun has an NHL-ready physique is part of the reason he’ll reportedly remain with the Arizona Coyotes for more than nine games this season, thus triggering the start of his entry-level contract.

The alternative is to send him back to junior, though considering he logged 23:39 in Tuesday’s 3-2 victory over San Jose, that seems unlikely.

“I’ve worked so hard on my physical fitness and my skating for so many years and I think it has served me well to smooth that transition to the NHL,” Chychrun told Arizona Sports. “I feel with my size and strength and skating ability at this age, it has helped me not feel like I am out of place.”

There have only been a handful of 18-year-old defensemen who’ve lasted a full season in the NHL. The last was Florida’s Aaron Ekblad, who was pretty big and strong himself at that age. Others on the list include Hall of Famers Scott Stevens, Phil Housley and the one and only Bobby Orr.

Chychrun was drafted 16th overall in June, with a pick Arizona traded up to get from Detroit.

Mark Glavin, the assistant general manager of Chychrun’s junior team in Sarnia, told the National Post that Chychrun would’ve been drafted earlier in the first round if he hadn’t been “under the microscope since he was 14 years old,” giving scouts so much time to pick his game apart.

“We felt that he probably didn’t deserve to fall that far, and he’s proving that right now,” said Glavin. “Credit Arizona for that pick.”

The Coyotes have two other teenagers that may or may not get sent back to junior. Forwards Lawson Crouse, 19, and Dylan Strome, 19, have played six and four games, respectively, so the clock is ticking on them.

Of the two, Crouse may be more likely to stay. Like Chychrun, he’s physically ready, while Strome has the talent, but still needs to get bigger and stronger.

But in the end, all three of the teenagers may stay, with the Coyotes choosing to develop them at the NHL level, as opposed to sending them back to a level where they have nothing much to prove.

Arizona hosts Nashville tonight. And with injuries to Martin Hanzal and Tobias Rieder, all three teenagers, plus 20-year-old Christian Dvorak, are expected to be in the lineup for the Coyotes.

The probable forward lines, per NHL.com:

Domi – Martinook – Vrbata
McGinn – Strome – Duclair
Rieder – Richardson – Doan
Crouse – Dvorak – White

Related: Coyotes send Dvorak to the AHL, which could mean an extended opportunity for Dylan Strome 

Report: Tryamkin ‘likely’ to make season debut for Canucks

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For the first time this season, Vancouver Canucks fans might get to see Nikita Tryamkin play.

The big Russian defenseman is “likely” to make his season debut tonight in Ottawa, according to TSN 1040’s Matt Sekeres.

Tryamkin has been a healthy scratch in Vancouver’s first 10 games. The 22-year-old has refused an AHL assignment, choosing instead to wield the KHL out-clause in his contract. When he hasn’t been sitting in the press box, the Canucks have been working him hard, trying to get him into better shape.

The opportunity for Tryamkin comes as Chris Tanev continues to battle a lower-body injury. Tanev returned to action last night in Montreal, but may have to sit again tonight. Vancouver also has Alex Biega available. He’s a right shot like Tanev, while Tryamkin shoots left.

If Tryamkin does get into the lineup tonight, he could skate with Luca Sbisa on the third pairing, with Philip Larsen bumping up to the top pairing with Alex Edler. Tryamkin and Sbisa practiced together a few days ago, before the Canucks departed on a six-game road trip, which began with a 3-0 loss to the Canadiens.

The Canucks continue their trip Saturday in Toronto. If Tanev can’t play tonight against the Senators, he may be available for the Maple Leafs game.

Yesterday, the Canucks sent rookie d-man Troy Stecher back to the AHL. To bring him back up again, they’d have to clear a roster spot.

AV shares key to Rangers’ winning ways

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Like most hockey coaches, Alain Vigneault believes that a good defense is the most important ingredient of a good offense.

The Rangers’ head coach shared his thoughts today on his team’s current form, and how everything starts with coming back hard to defend.

“I think the biggest thing about our game right now is we defend well, in the sense that all our forwards are coming back real hard to the house and real quickly, permitting us to outnumber the opposition,” said Vigneault. “And then when we get the puck, it’s just north-south real quick.

“To tell you the truth, it’s not a lot different than my first or second year, if you remember we were one of the better five-on-five offensive teams, even last year as far as scoring. But defensively last year, I don’t think we were as committed to coming back as quick as we possibly could, and getting on the other team and trying to take their skill and their speed and their quickness away.”

Related: The Rangers had a ‘puck-moving’ problem

Indeed, the Rangers (7-3-0) are off to a rollicking start. Their past two outings have seen them blast Tampa Bay, 6-1, and embarrass St. Louis, 5-0. After 10 games, they boast the NHL’s top offense, averaging four goals per game.

“That’s a hell of a team,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told reporters Tuesday. “They gave us a hell of a lesson. They are playing great team hockey and they just exposed any weakness we had. They exposed it. They’ve done it to a few teams.”

Tonight, the Rangers host the Edmonton Oilers, who are off to a pretty good start themselves, thanks in large part to a former Blueshirts backup. Cam Talbot has started all 10 games for the Oilers, going 7-2-1 with a .932 save percentage.

Prior to getting traded to Edmonton, Talbot started 34 games for the Rangers in 2014-15, the season that saw Henrik Lundqvist miss 24 games after a puck hit him in the throat. 

“When Hank was out for close to two months, Cam came in and played extremely well,” said Vigneault. “I think that’s where he found the confidence in himself to know that he could be a No. 1. That summer at the draft, we gave him the opportunity.”

Isles need better effort after ‘easily our worst game of the year’

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The New York Islanders will be back on their much-maligned home ice tonight, hoping to put Tuesday’s 6-1 loss to Tampa Bay well behind them.

“It was easily our worst game of the year from a lot of different standpoints,” forward Andrew Ladd told Newsday. “You get ticked off at the way it went, a bit embarrassed by it and you just want to get the team trying to feel good about themselves again.”

The Philadelphia Flyers (5-5-1) are the opponents tonight. While it’s still very early in the season, this is a key divisional game for the Isles (4-6-0), who are already three points out of a wild-card spot and five points back of third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Tuesday’s defeat was as bad as the score made it sound. The Isles got into penalty trouble early and were outshot, 30-12, in the first two periods. Little more than halfway through the game, they were trailing 6-0.

It got so bad for the home side that the “Fire Cappy!” chants started, according to Newsday.

Of course, Jack Capuano has heard those chants before, and he’s still the head coach. The Isles’ new owners have expressed their “full confidence” in Capuano and GM Garth Snow, even if not all fans feel the same.

The Isles have two more home games after tonight’s: Saturday against Edmonton and Monday versus Vancouver. After that comes a very tough stretch, including one trip to Florida and another to California.

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Beleskey a scratch, Kuraly to make NHL debut for Bruins

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The Boston Bruins will have another rookie in the lineup tonight in Tampa Bay, as winger Sean Kuraly is expected to make his NHL debut against the Lightning.

Kuraly will replace left winger Matt Beleskey on the much-maligned third line with Riley Nash and Jimmy Hayes. Beleskey, Nash, and Hayes have all been held pointless so far this season.

The Bruins will also get winger David Pastrnak back from his suspension. Pastrnak will be reunited with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron on the top line.

The lines at the morning skate:

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak
Spooner-Krejci-Czarnik
Kuraly-Nash-Hayes
Schaller-Moore-Acciari

Kuraly, 23, was originally drafted by San Jose in 2011. He was acquired by the Bruins last summer as part of the Martin Jones trade. This is Kuraly’s first professional season after four years at Miami (Ohio) University. Prior to gettihttps://twitter.com/HackswithHaggs/status/794227039788290048ng called up, he had one assist in eight games for AHL Providence.

The Bruins will have three other rookies in the lineup tonight: forwards Noel Acciari and Austin Czarnik, and defensemen Brandon Carlo. Two other rookies, d-man Rob O’Gara and forward Danton Heien, have played games for Boston but are currently in the AHL.

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As for Beleskey, it’s not clear if he’s simply a healthy scratch or if he suffered an injury Tuesday in Florida, where he slid hard into the Bruins’ net on a back check:

The Bruins (5-4-0) have scored just nine goals in their last six games. They’ve won their last two thanks in large part to goalie Tuukka Rask.

Update: