GLENDALE - With a new, two-year contract secured, forward Tobias Rieder headed to Calgary on Tuesday to catch up with the Coyotes as they prepare for a preseason road game against the Flames on Wednesday night.
Rieder played in all 82 games for Arizona last season, his second in the NHL, and he notched 14 goals, 23 assists and 37 points - all career highs. He became a restricted free agent on July 1, and it took three months and three days to agree to a new deal.
"I'm just really excited and really happy it's done," said Rieder, who signed his new contract electronically via his phone. "I can't wait to join the team today and get things going. It was a long process, but that's the business side of hockey and I think everybody is just happy that it worked out."
Coyotes General Manager John Chayka is pleased to have signed Rieder, 23, and considers him a key cog. And with Rieder back on board, Arizona can seriously craft its lineup for Opening Night on Oct. 15.
"We like Tobi the player, we like Tobi the person," Chayka said. "He fits in with exactly the kind of culture and team we're trying to build here with young, fast, skilled players. I foresee him being a part of our future for a long time."
The Coyotes have depth at left wing with Rieder, Max Domi, Jamie McGinn and Jordan Martinook all expected to log lots of ice time. Prospect Lawson Crouse also is vying to make the team at left wing.
"Lawson has done everything we could ask of him to date," Chayka said. "He's a unique player. He's loved by the entire staff here and is such a special person. He's brought a lot to the table in a short period of time and he's made it very difficult to think of even the potential of sending him down. We can always find room for good players and I don't think we're so good that we can't find room for guys."
Rieder notched one assist in six games for runner-up Team Europe at the World Cup of Hockey. Because of this he feels he's quite ready to play an NHL game despite missing nearly two weeks of Coyotes training camp.
"He had a long World Cup (run) so we're not concerned about timing or anything like that," Chayka said. "He's always the smart, responsible player who knows Dave Tippett's system well, so he'll jump back in the fold here and not miss a beat."
Rieder said he was following Coyotes camp and preseason games from Toronto, where he was staying with a friend from Germany and working out on his own with skills coach Jari Byrski. He likes the optimism surrounding the team.
"We made some good transactions in the off-season," Rieder said. "(Radim Vrbata) gives us some skill and some veteran presence, and McGinn gives us some grit and another guy who can score goals. I'm really excited to see what the mix looks like. I just have a pretty good feeling about this."
During the lengthy negotiations, Rieder reportedly received inquiries from Kontinental Hockey League teams.
"There were offers there but my No. 1 priority is to play in the NHL," Rieder said. "I wasn't really considering it a whole lot because I always thought that something was going to work out over here."