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Shinnimin Thrilled to Sign with Coyotes

by Dave Vest | Anthony Perez / Arizona Coyotes
GLENDALE -- The Coyotes on Friday signed free-agent center Brendan Shinnimin to a three-year, entry-level contract. Shinnimin, 21, is playing for Tri-City of the Western Hockey League. He will continue to play there until Tri-City’s season ends. After that he will join Phoenix’s American Hockey League affiliate in Portland, Maine, should Portland’s season still be going on.

Brendan Shinnimin
“It’s a pretty exciting day for myself and my family,” Shinnimin said. “Playing professional hockey is a dream that I had as a little kid. To be able to get an opportunity from the Phoenix organization is a pretty big honor and it’s pretty exciting to say the least.”

Shinnimin has notched a career-high 52 goals and 65 assists in 60 games with Tri-City this season. He was recently named the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Player of the Month for February and the WHL Player of the Month for February, leading all WHL scorers with an unprecedented 43 points (20 goals, 23 assists).

“I put up quite a few points last year, but I think I needed to work on gaining quickness and speed and explosiveness, and I really worked on that in the off-season,” Shinnimin said. “It’s nice to put up numbers, but I think I’ve really improved a lot of the other areas of my game, especially with that speed and my defensive zone play.”

Coyotes fans may remember Shinnimin from training camp last September, where he turned heads playing among among his peers.

“Getting an invite to Phoenix’s camp was a great experience,” Shinnimin said. “I felt comfortable being there and the people are great, and at the end of it they offered me an AHL contract and I had the choice between going to Portland (or coming back to Tri-City to earn an NHL contract. I chose to come back to Tri-City to earn an NHL contract. They respected that decision and it was just pretty cool how, in the end, after the season I had and the work I put in here, that they came in and offered me that NHL contract. I couldn’t be happier to be with the Phoenix Coyotes, that’s for sure.”

Brendan Shinnimin of the Tri-City Americans. Photo by John Allen.
Shinnimin is not eligible to play in the NHL until the 2012-13 season at the earliest. That’s OK with him; he has some unfinished business in the WHL to take care of first.

“My first focus right now is to win the Western League championship and hopefully make it to the Memorial Cup, and then after that it’s back to the grind with a hard off-season ahead of me to prepare for camp next year,” Shinnimin said. “Obviously my ultimate goal would be to make Phoenix next year. I’m going to do whatever I can to be able to do that, but if they keep me in the American League I’m going to work hard there and develop and take from them what I need to do to make it to the NHL and just work on those things to be able to get to the big club as quick as possible.”

Coyotes Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving said Shinnimin has multiple traits the Coyotes look for in their young players.

“He’s had a great few years in the Western League, especially the last two,” Treliving said. “He’s got some offensive tools but our biggest draw to him is his character, work ethic and the competitive drive he has. We really feel he’s a kid you take a chance on.”
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