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'Yotes Notes: 5 Rookies Make Roster

Strome, Chychrun among high draft picks who earned spots

by Dave Vest @davest4yotes / Coyotes Sr. Director of News Content

GLENDALE - The Coyotes crafted their Opening Night roster to the NHL required 23 players on Tuesday, and among the names listed included four players with no NHL experience and one with just eight games on his resume.

"We'll be young," Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "We're going to integrate some of these young players into our group. Hopefully they'll continue to grow as players and become good NHL players. They need to grow as people and as players. Young players come in, there's an excitement to start with, but with that excitement comes the reality that to be in the NHL there's a commitment you have to make on and off the ice, there's still a lot to learn. We went through that last year, we'll go through that again this year, but I feel like overall our depth is strong enough to integrate these young players in and still be a very competitive team."

Forwards Dylan Strome, Christian Dvorak, Laurent Dauphin and Lawson Crouse all made the team, as did defenseman Jakob Chychrun. Only Dauphin has played in the NHL, and that was mostly at the end of last season. All five players were selected in the first or second round of recent drafts.

"It's where we wanted to be," said Strome, whom the Coyotes drafted third overall in 2015. "Now it's about getting in the lineup and playing every day and being a good pro. Hopefully, I can get into some games and show them that I deserve to be a pro for the whole year."

Video: Q&A with Dylan Strome

Strome and Crouse are 19 years old. Dvorak is 20 and Dauphin is 21. Chychrun, whom Arizona drafted 16th overall just last June, is the youngest of the prospects named to the team. He's 18.

"It's very exciting but there's still a lot of work to be done," Chychrun said. "I'm hoping this is just the beginning, I'm going to treat it like that, still come in every day and work just as hard if not harder. You have to fight just to make the lineup every night. You have to act like a pro, you have to go about your business every day and continue to get better. You can't be complacent."

Video: Q&A with Jakob Chychrun 

Tippett believes Chychrun is ready for the challenge of the NHL despite his age.

"The one thing we've said from the first couple days of training camp is he's mature for his age," Tippett said. "He's come in and played a mature game. He's a real eager young man, he's obviously fit, he's in a man's body. There's going to be things he needs to learn as we go on here, but he's ahead of the curve for a young defenseman."

Strome, Chychrun and Crouse are not eligible to play in the American Hockey League this season so the Coyotes will have to decide if each player will stay beyond the NHL-mandated nine games played so they don't use up the first year of their entry-level contract or return to junior hockey.

"We still have the opportunity with the 10-game rule to see where players are," Tippett said. "I'm not looking at it as 10 games right now. They made the team (because) they're good enough to be here and play, so I'm not looking at it as 'OK, we're going to count it down to 10.'"

Dvorak, who captained London of the Ontario Hockey League to the Memorial Cup title last spring, can't wait to make his NHL debut.

"I'll probably be a little bit nervous Saturday, but I just think it's an exciting opportunity and I'm looking forward to it," Dvorak said.

Dauphin notched one goal (on Jan. 4 at Vancouver) and seven shots on goal in eight games with Arizona last season. He said he feels that experience gave him an edge over other prospects at this year's training camp.

"It feels good (to make the team)," Dauphin said. "I worked hard during the camp and I'm happy to be here."

Crouse, the 11th overall pick at the 2015 NHL Draft, came to the Coyotes via a trade with the Florida Panthers this summer. 

"My goal all summer long was to make the NHL this year, and when I got traded to Arizona that didn't change," Crouse said. "I was just trying to do whatever I could to come in here and send a good message and show them that I don't want to get sent home and that I want to be here all year long."

• Defensemen Michael Stone and Kevin Connauton will start the season on the non-roster Injury list and they can be activated at any time. Meanwhile, defenseman Jarred Tinordi is not on the roster while he continues to serve an NHL suspension that covers the first four games of the season.

Tippett said both Stone and Connauton are close to being ready to play in games.

• Tippett said forward Tobias Rieder is expected to join the team at practice on Wednesday. Rieder had been in Canada awaiting resolution of a visa issue up until Tuesday afternoon when he flew to Arizona.

• Forward Jamie McGinn did not practice with teammates on Tuesday as he continues to nurse an upper-body injury. Tippett said it's likely McGinn would play in the season opener on Saturday vs. Philadelphia.

• Defenseman Klas Dahlbeck was claimed off waivers by the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday, ending his stint with the Coyotes at 90 games.

"We wish him well," Tippett said.

• Defenseman Zbynek Michalek cleared waivers and is listed on the 23-man roster.

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