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'Yotes Notes: Chychrun Turning Heads In Rookie Season

Defenseman Jakob Chychrun is showing he belongs in the NHL

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

Jakob Chychrun: Practice

Jakob Chychrun on his first two weeks in the NHL

Coyotes rookie Jakob Chychrun discusses his first two weeks in the NHL

  • 04:24 •

GLENDALE - Jakob Chychrun logged nearly 20 minutes of ice time on Saturday vs. Colorado - a season-high for the 18-year-old defenseman who is turning heads in his rookie NHL season.

"We're trying to play the guys we think we can win with and he's one of those guys," Head Coach Dave Tippett said after Monday's practice. "He's been a good player … He's played well enough to be in the lineup and that's why he's stayed in it."

Chychrun has notched one goal and two assists and is a plus-2 in his first seven NHL games.  

"It's been a dream come true," Chychrun said. "I've been thinking about this for a long time and I've been preparing for a long time for this opportunity. This is where I want to be. My whole life I've been working toward playing here. To be here is a huge honor. Everyday I am so happy to be able to come in and go to work. It's been challenging, but it has been fun though. It's been great to adjust to this level of play - to the speed and to the size of the game at this level. It's been fun so far." 

Chychrun played 12:09 in the season opener, and he was a healthy scratch for the second game. He's been a regular in the lineup since then thanks, in part, to the poise and maturity he has shown on and off the ice.

"You can't really be here without believing in yourself and believing in your own style of play and believing in what you can bring to the table," Chychrun said. "I just honestly believe that I can help this team win. I think I can play here, keep up with the pace here and defend well here. That's basically what I've been trying to show … Maybe for some people it's shocking that I'm here, but this was the plan for me all along."

Chychrun has been sharing his NHL experiences with his father, Jeff, via text messages and phone calls on a regular basis. His dad played 262 NHL games from 1986-94.

"He's great to talk to because he's been through everything I'm going through now," Chychrun said. "He understands how I'm feeling and what I'm going though, and what it's like at this level. It's good to just be able to talk to him and to have him to talk about my day with."

• The Coyotes sent center Christian Dvorak to their American Hockey League affiliate in Tucson on Monday, bringing the number of players on the roster down to 22.

Dvorak's demotion likely means there will be more playing time for center Dylan Strome, who has played in just three of the team's eight games this season.

• Defenseman Michael Stone, who missed Saturday's game vs. Colorado because of an upper-body injury, skated at Monday's practice but left the ice early. He is considered questionable for Tuesday's home game vs. San Jose.

"We'll see where it is tomorrow morning," Tippett said. "He was a little better today. It's nothing serious."

• Goalie Mike Smith skated away from teammates on Monday for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury on Oct. 18. Tippett said Smith didn't wear pads for the skate and that he looked fine afterward. He is still considered week-to-week.

Video: Dave Tippett fields questions after practice

• The Coyotes signed defenseman Kyle Capobianco to an entry-level contract on Monday. Arizona drafted Capobianco, who is currently playing for Sudbury in the Ontario Hockey League, 63rd overall in 2015. 

• Defenseman Kyle Wood was named the AHL's Rookie of the Month for October. Wood notched two goals and six assists in five games for Tucson. 

• The Coyotes vs. San Jose Sharks game on Tuesday night is being televised nationally on NBC Sports Network. 

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