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'Yotes Notes: Galchenyuk's Skills Impress Chayka

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

GLENDALE - Alex Galchenyuk is making quite a positive impression during his first week on the job with the Coyotes.

Galchenyuk is transitioning from winger back to center at training camp and his enthusiasm is palpable. On Tuesday, he centered Arizona's top line in a preseason game vs. Los Angeles and scored two goals in a 4-2 victory.  

"He's a special player, one of the most talented guys," General Manager John Chayka told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, the team's flagship radio station, on Wednesday. "Now that I see him every day in practice, day in and day out, you really recognize the quality of his shot and plays he makes. He's a better playmaker than I gave him credit for. Last night, you see him with a one-timer and he just blows it by a goalie. I mean if you have that weapon on your power play it kind of changes that whole dynamic."

Asked specifically to assess Galchenyuk's move back to center - he played winger for Montreal the past two seasons before being traded to Arizona this summer - Chayka said: "It's going to be up to him. He's going to have to work consistently to improve everyday to be that No. 1 center or play up against other teams' centers. I think he has the ability to do it. We'll see how it goes." 

Video: Galchenyuk Tallies 2 vs. Kings

Oliver Ekman-Larsson wore the 'C' on his sweater for the first time in a preseason game vs. LA on Tuesday night in Glendale. Asked how it felt, the rookie captain smiled and quipped "Pretty heavy."

He added: "It's a big honor, and a lot of fun to be the guy who's going to lead the team. I don't feel any different, to be honest with you. I just go out there and try to do my best."

• Defenseman Jordan Oesterle is leading the Coyotes in point production after three preseason games. 

Oesterle, whom Arizona acquired via trade with Chicago this off-season, has notched one goal and three assists in two games as he battles for a roster spot with other newcomers Ilya Lyubushkin and Robbie Russo, and prospects Kyle Capobianco, Trevor Murphy and others. 

"He's a mobile guy," Head Coach Rick Tocchet said. "I like the tools that he has. He can shoot the puck. He can make a pass. He's a good skater and he can defend. He's done a nice job at this camp so far. We've put him in certain tough situations and he's done a nice job handling himself in those situations."

• Defenseman Jakob Chychrun has yet to skate with teammates at training camp but is around the team daily.

Chychrun still is recovering and rehabilitating after off-season knee surgery.

"He's ramping up his skating every single day," Chayka said. "He looks great. He's in unbelievable shape, as he always is. It's more about just being calculated and strategic in how we go about the risk/reward of when he comes back, but obviously he's a young player and we're not going to rush anything or take any more risk than we need to. We'll take it step by step here. Right now he's not practicing with the group. That's kind of the next step. We'll go from there. The long-term future with him is extremely bright."

• Arizona's next preseason game is Saturday at home vs. Anaheim. The game can be heard on KTAR News 92.3 FM starting at 6 p.m. Arizona time.

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