GLENDALE -- For some players, training camp offers an opportunity to start over, but for Tobias Rieder it’s presenting a chance for him to pick up where he left off last season.
And why wouldn’t he? After not making the Coyotes out of training camp last season, Rieder reported to the American Hockey League and played nine games there before being recalled to Arizona for his season debut on Nov. 2 in Washington. He not only played 11:30 that night but he scored the game-winning goal in a 6-5 win over the Capitals.
Rieder, who was drafted by Edmonton 114th overall in 2011 and then traded to Arizona in March 2013, went on to play in 72 games and notched 13 goals and eight assists. After his rookie season, he played for his native Germany in the IIHF World Championship in the Czech Republic. Ho notched three assists in seven games.
Wanting to keep momentum during the off-season, Rieder joined fellow forward Mikkel Boedker in Austria in July for a camp conducted by Coyotes Assistant Coach Newell Brown.
As training camp unfolds, Rieder is not not taking his roster spot for granted and he plans to continue to develop his all-around game.
“I just want to be an overall better player,” Rieder said. “I want to put up some more points, be more solid defensively and improve everything this year.”
Anytime a pro athlete enters a second season there’s often a worry that he or she will hit a wall, or experience a “sophomore slump.” But Head Coach Dave Tippett said he’s not concerned about Rieder taking a step back as a second-year NHLer.
“Good players are good players,” Tippett said. “Expectations go up when they have a great first year, but I like the way Toby is just a steady, consistent player. I don’t expect any (sophomore slump) to creep into this game at all. In fact, when expectations go up I think he’ll meet expectations.”
What makes this season even more interesting for Rieder is the fact that he’s in an interesting “middle ground” in the dressing room.
While the roster will consist of veteran players and likely a few rookies, Rieder sits somewhere in between those groups. He can still use the guidance of veterans and at the same time provide advice to the rookies since he very recently experienced a lot of what they’re experiencing now. It’s a role that Rieder enjoys.
“I’m still happy because all the older guys come up and teach me things and you learn a lot from the older guys,” Rieder said. “And I think it’s also good to tell the younger guys a little bit about this League as far as I know it… I think I’m in a good position.”
Rieder will be back in the lineup for tonight's preseason game at Vancouver. He is slated to play on the top line with center Martin Hanzal and winger Max Domi.