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'Yotes Notes: Chayka Likes Cousins' Playmaking Skills, Grit

Center Nick Cousins is eager for new opportunity with Arizona

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

GLENDALE - The Coyotes added center Nick Cousins on Friday via a trade with Philadelphia, then submitted his name to the NHL on Saturday as one of the eight skaters they protected from the NHL Expansion Draft.

Cousins, 23, has played 107 NHL games, all for Philadelphia, which drafted him 68th overall in 2011.

"This is a good opportunity for me," Cousins said. "I'm really looking forward to getting to Arizona and meeting the guys."

Cousins played 12 minutes per/game and notched six goals and 10 assists in 60 games with the Flyers last season. He suffered an upper-body injury in mid-March and played just once after that, in the season finale on April 9.

Cousins showed a scoring touch in junior hockey (102 goals in four seasons with Sault Ste. Marie) and in the American Hockey League (45 goals in three seasons with Adirondack/Lehigh Valley).

The Coyotes like his offensive skills.   

"He's a playmaker," General Manager John Chayka said. "I felt that particularly through the middle of the ice and across our roster, we just didn't make enough plays (last season). We didn't have enough players to make those good 10-foot passes, that second pass out of the zone to have a clean breakout and transition from defense to offense through the neutral zone. He's also a guy that's tough to play against. He's involved and he's got some grit to him."

Cousins is from Belleville, Ontario, where he group up rooting for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Mats Sundin. He's crossed paths with Coyotes forward Brad Richardson and defenseman Luke Schenn through the years, and he considers Max Domi a new friend; Domi sent Cousins a text message this weekend, welcoming him to the Coyotes.

"Arizona is a good young team," Cousins said. "I'm only 23, but it's almost like I'll be one of the older guys on the team. I'm excited. It's going to be a lot of fun to be a part of what they're trying to build. This is the first time I've ever been traded, but I don't want to over-think things and over-complicate things just because I'm playing for a different team. I'm not going to try to re-invent the wheel. I'm just going to keep doing exactly what got me here." 

Tweet from @Cous27: Thank you @NHLFlyers for the last 4 years !! So excited to join @ArizonaCoyotes !

Arizona also acquired goalie Merrick Madsen in Friday's trade with Philadelphia. Madsen is a California native who starred at Harvard University last season when he won a school-record 28 games as a junior.

Tweet from @MerrickleOnIce: Thankful for all the @NHLFlyers have done for me, but I couldn't be more excited to be moving forward with the @ArizonaCoyotes #yotes

��� The Coyotes, and the other 29 incumbent NHL teams, sent their list of non-exempt players they chose to protect from the Expansion Draft to the League on Saturday. The lists were made public on Sunday.

Any player with two or fewer years of NHL experience was exempt. With that in mind, Arizona protected eight skaters and one goalie: 

Nick Cousins (F)
Anthony Duclair (F)
Jordan Martinook (F)
Tobias Rieder (F)
Oliver Ekman-Larsson (D)
Alex Goligoski (D)
Connor Murphy (D)
Luke Schenn (D)
Chad Johnson (G)

The Vegas Golden Knights will unveil the player they've selected from the Coyotes, and the players they've selected from the other teams, on Wednesday as part of the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas. Fans can watch on NBC Sports Network. 

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