GLENDALE -- Since coming to the Coyotes organization in a trade last year, forward Tobias Rieder has established himself as a top prospect. He’s now looking to take the next step and earn a spot on the big club’s roster.
When the Coyotes acquired Rieder (pronounced REE-der) from the Edmonton Oilers in March of 2013, he was in the midst of his final junior season with the Ontario Hockey League’s Kitchener Rangers, a season in which he posted 27 goals and 29 assists in 52 games. At the end of that season he signed an entry-level contract with the Coyotes and then played 2013-14 with the organization’s American Hockey League affiliate in Portland, where he ranked third among in scoring with 28 goals and 20 assists in 64 games.
With a few roster spots possibly up for grabs to some of the younger players in the organization, Coyotes management is keeping a collective eye on Rieder at this year’s Rookie Camp.
“He’s a very intelligent player,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “(He) shoots the puck very well, but he’s kind of unassuming and I’m interested to see how far he’s come because he was a real good player in the American League and got lots of opportunities.”
When asked what makes Rieder unassuming, Tippett elaborated:
“He does a lot of things well in a game that the normal fan wouldn’t notice,” Tippett said. “He won’t fight anybody, he won’t knock anybody off the puck and dangle with a goal, but he’s going to make good, solid plays. He’s going to make an unassuming play that might be a deflection that ends up in a rebound that ends up in a goal. He’s one of these players that finds a way to have an impact on the game and it’s not all the time in a bold or star-studded way. He doesn't do anything flashy; he just does a lot of things right."
Rieder, who was born in Landshut, Germany, says he’s looking to build upon the progressions in his game from last season.
|Tobias Rieder. Photo by Norm Hall. |
“I’m an offensive guy, so obviously I want to just put up good numbers, just be a more complete player like last year and just improve every aspect of the game,” he said.
His effort to be a more complete player could also mean playing time at multiple positions. The 21-year-old has played center and right wing during his short career and Tippett said playing time on the left side could be in Rieder’s immediate future.
“I think it would be good for him to experience a little bit of left and right,” said Tippett. “And then when you get in situations when you’re shuffling the lines or if he’s in Portland and you need a depth guy up here he’s capable of all situations.”
Tippett likened Rieder’s offensive game to Coyotes forward Martin Erat’s.
“If you’re going to categorize him, he’s a similar player as an Erat,” Tippett said. “He can play both sides, (he’s) good with the puck, he’s an intelligent player that way.”
Rieder hopes to use that versatility to help him land a roster spot straight out of training camp.
“Last year was my first year with this organization, so I was getting to know everybody, but now that I know everybody here I’m here to make the team,” Rieder said. “The coaching staff and management told us to work hard, that there’s open spots, that they might want to have some younger players on the team. I’m going to do everything I can to get a spot.”