Plummeting down the standings and likely to be a seller leading up to Monday’s trade deadline, Arizona kicked off what could be a youth movement by recalling Henrik Samuelsson from AHL Portland on Wednesday.
Samuelsson, 21, was the club’s first-round pick (27th overall) at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He’s scored 10 goals and 25 points in 50 games with the Pirates this season — his first in the AHL — this coming after a stellar junior career in which he led WHL Edmonton to a Memorial Cup.
Samuelsson will join a Coyotes’ forward group that already includes two 22-year-olds in Lucas Lessio and Tobias Rieder. On defense, Arizona is currently carrying the likes of 21-year-old Connor Murphy and two 23-year-olds in Brandon Gormley and Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
In late January, Coyotes GM Don Maloney said the club might also give 19-year-old Max Domi — the team’s first-round pick at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft — his big-league debut this season, once he was done playing with OHL London.
All of this points to the likelihood of an Antoine Vermette trade happening in the not-too-distant future. Other vets like Martin Erat, Zbynek Michalek, David Moss and Keith Yandle could also be on the move.
Hockey can be a game of inches and sometimes less than that. Depending on who you ask, it can also be cruel, too.
The Chicago Blackhawks found that out the hard way on Monday against the Arizona Coyotes.
The Blackhawks thought they had the winning goal with about 15 seconds remaining in overtime, only a review concluded the puck never crossed the goal line. The Coyotes went on to win the game by a final score of 3-2 in the shootout.
From the NHL’s Situation Room blog:
At 5:00 of overtime in the Arizona Coyotes/Chicago Blackhawks game, the Situation Room initiated a video review to further examine a play at the Arizona net. Video review confirmed that the rebound from Andrew Shaw’s shot at 4:44 did not cross the Arizona goal line. No goal Chicago.
The puck jumped up into the air after Mike Smith made the initial save, and landed on the goal line but never conclusively and fully crossed over, according to the league. As that scramble continued, Brandon Saad hit the crossbar.
So close, but so far.
The loss ended Chicago’s run of back-to-back wins. They have now lost three times in the last five games.
Lucas Lessio and Antoine Vermette scored in the shootout for Arizona.
The Phoenix Coyotes have a pair of young forwards they really like. They’re also having a hard time deciding who stays with the big club as well.
2013 first-round pick Max Domi and 2011 second-round pick Lucas Lessio are competing for the last forward spot with the team and as GM Don Maloney puts it, their decision is going to be tough to make. Craig Morgan of Fox Sports Arizona has the story and it sounds like Lessio has the lead on Domi.
“From Day 1 in camp, Lucas has willed himself onto our roster with hard work,” Maloney said. “We’ve been waiting to see a drop-off and we haven’t seen one, so he’s probably the most pleasant surprise in camp.”
Maloney says Lessio could play on any of the four lines while Domi would have to be on one of the top two scoring lines to fit in best. That turns into a dilemma as to what coach Dave Tippett needs more of: Goals or all-around play.
Domi making the jump right into the NHL would be a surprise as he’s got the option to head back to juniors. While he could get a nine-game look, after seeing how things went with Kyle Turris in the past, they may not want to do that again.
Some fans don’t necessarily think of the Coyotes as a big-time offensive team. After all, Shane Doan and Antoine Vermette were their goal-scoring leaders with 13 a piece.
GM Don Maloney wants to perhaps change that up a bit this season by opening up competition for everyone on their top two lines.
Tal Pinchevsky at NHL.com hears from Maloney about how he’s changed things up heading into training camp this year.
“We made a concerted effort to leave three open scoring spots available. Hopefully somebody will seize the opportunity and take it,” Maloney told NHL.com. “I really feel we have the third and fourth line covered. Where do we find a little more skill? Where do we find help on our power play? Where do we find help in the shootout? We’re not closing our minds to anything.”
Guys like Mikkel Boedker and Radim Vrbata will get some offensive help from newly signed Mike Ribeiro. The playmaking center will be able to distribute the puck well. Finding finishers will be the trick.
Coach Dave Tippett hasn’t really been a guy to shake things up like crazy year-to-year, but perhaps with new ownership comes new plans to open things up for younger guys like Lucas Lessio, Chris Brown, Henrik Samuelsson, or even 2013 first-rounder Max Domi.