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Looking At: 2019 Anaheim Rookie Faceoff

Arizona's rookie roster is slated to play in three exhibition games in Irvine, CA

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Arizona Coyotes

Rookie camp continues into the weekend and will conclude on Tuesday as the Coyotes participate in the 2019 Anaheim Rookie Faceoff at Great Park Ice in Irvine, California. Arizona's rookie roster will join the likes of those from the host Anaheim Ducks, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, and Vegas Golden Knights.


The Coyotes' 27-player prospect pool, consisting of 15 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders, is slated to play in three games during the weekend, including a dedicated practice day on Monday, September 9.

2019 Anaheim Rookie Faceoff Schedule:

  • Saturday, September 7: vs. San Jose Sharks - 3:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, September 8: vs. Vegas Golden Knights - 3:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, September 10: vs. Colorado Avalanche - 11:00 a.m.

Keep an eye out -- each game will be streamed live right here on, featuring play-by-play commentary from radio voice Bob Heethuis. If you're on the go, know that you can also tune-in to the broadcasts on the NHL mobile app. Note! Live game streams will only be available in each participating team's broadcast market.

Taking care of the bench during the three rookie exhibitions will be the Tucson Roadrunners' coaching staff, comprised of head coach Jay Varady and assistants John Slaney and Steve Potvin.

Top-tier development, and it's time to shine. The Coyotes' rookie roster includes three first-round draft selections in Victor Soderstrom (2019), Barrett Hayton (2018), and Nick Merkley (2015).

Along with Soderstrom, two additional picks from the 2019 NHL Draft are included on the roster; defenseman Axel Bergkvist and forward Valentin Nussbaumer, both seventh-round selections.

If there is a group to be heavily showcased, it's the Coyotes' 2018 draft class; seven of Arizona's nine selections from two summers prior have secured a camp roster spot. Along with the aforementioned Hayton, that '18 class includes forwards Liam Kirk and Jan Jenik , defensemen Dennis Busby and Kevin Bahl , and goaltenders Ivan Prosvetov and David Tendeck.

To round out the roster, there are seven names that dressed in the American Hockey League with Tucson last season and six players attending on camp invite.

Jay Varady, on leading the bench during the 2019 Anaheim Rookie Faceoff:

For me, it's just a really exciting time. You go through the summer, the draft, you get development camp in where we introduce guys into a teaching environment and now we transition into training camp. There's potential for some of these guys to end up in main camp, maybe there's an opportunity for some of the guys to get exhibition games in at the NHL level if they do well, so it's a good time to compete and earn a spot.

Varady, on the principles set forth for the three exhibition contests:

It's just mentorship for us. We're here to help to develop our players and make sure that they have the attributes and identity that they need to be a part of the Coyotes organization. This is a chance to introduce these guys to some of those concepts and to try and build on that.

Varady, on the coaching staff's plans for mapping out game lineups:

Five lines, nine defenseman, three goalies. You establish a plan early, and obviously there are things that change over the course of the three games. We're going in with a little bit of a layout, and then we go from there.

Varady, on the main objective heading into Saturday's tournament opener:

It's just about working with everybody, making sure everybody is getting the information they need, understanding the goals of the tournament, and going after it.

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