As training camp draws near, a number of Coyotes players have begun to assemble for informal skates at Gila River Arena, many taking the ice together for the first time since April. With the offseason coming to a close, we touch base with a few names to catch up on the preceding months and the season ahead.
They're Back: Summer Q&A Series
Christian Dvorak is entering his fourth season with Arizona. The 23-year-old forward didn't make his 2018-19 season debut until late February, appearing in the Coyotes' final 20 games of the year, scoring two goals and adding five assists. He signed a six-year contract extension last August.
You're back in Arizona for the upcoming season, how was your summer?
I spent about half the summer back home in Chicago and about half in Toronto, it was good to be back home in Chicago for a bit, I trained in Toronto with a buddy and got some skating in. It was good, it was nice to be healthy all summer, and that's a goal of mine for this season too. I thought the summer went well and that I got better in a lot of areas, so it's a step in the right direction.
What was the highlight of your time spent away from the rink?
Early in the summer I went to the Bahamas with my London Knights buddies; we kind of do an annual trip after all of our seasons are over. Our team that won the Memorial Cup, there's like 10 or 12 of us that go on a trip, so it's always nice to get back and see all of them and reconnect.
Did you keep in touch or train with any of your teammates during the offseason?
A little bit, I was actually here in Arizona for a couple of weeks during the summer, some guys stay here throughout the summer, so I saw them a bit. In Chicago, I ran into Vinnie [Hinostroza] and [Christian] Fischer a lot, so I saw a good amount of guys throughout the summer.
As far as the upcoming season, what excites you the most?
Where our team's headed. I think we made a lot of improvements and hopefully we'll be a lot healthier this year, so we're definitely all excited to get the season going here, to get camp started, it should be fun.
Fighting for a playoff spot up until the second-to-last game in 2018-19, what did you learn from that experience, how is the team looking to build on that?
I think that was huge for us, the two years before last year we didn't really get those meaningful games during the playoff race, so it was definitely nice to get that experience last year. Obviously we came up a little bit short, which stung, but I think we're excited to make a push and make the playoffs this year.
How do you feel the roster has been improved and rejuvenated with the acquisitions of forwards Phil Kessel and Carl Soderberg?
It should be great for our team, I think they're both very well-known players in this league, they put the puck in the back of the net and that's something as a team we're looking to improve on this year. They're great additions, and it's one of the reasons why we're all excited to get going.
What is driving your motivation for the coming season?
First and foremost, stay healthy. I wasn't able to do that last year, so I think that's first things first for me, and then of course try and get better in all areas of my game. Most importantly, try and help this team make the playoffs.
Your goals for the 2019-20 campaign, personal and for the team, what are they?
I don't really set too many personal goals, statistically or anything like that. My main concern is doing anything to help the team win and make the playoffs because our team hasn't done that in a while, so that's the main goal here.