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'Yotes Notes: Prospects Report to Development Camp

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

GLENDALE -- Thirty-nine players, including the nine the Coyotes drafted over the weekend in Dallas, are in Arizona this week for the annual prospect development camp, which began Monday at Gila River Arena.

"It's not an evaluation camp. It's a development camp for a reason," General Manager John Chayka said. "...It's for them to learn about taking that next step and what it means to be a pro."

Chayka said he wants the young players to spend the week asking questions and getting familiar with the facilities, and the organization and how it operates.

"We are as motivated and incentivized to get them to the next level as they should be," Chayka said. "Our job is to give them every resource and it's their job to use every resource the best that they can."

• Chayka said the Coyotes tendered qualifying offers to the following restricted free agents before Monday's NHL deadline to do so: forwards Michael Bunting, Laurent Dauphin, Hudson Fasching, defensemen Dakota Mermis and Trevor Murphy, and goalie Marek Langhamer. 

• Former Coyotes goalie Zac Bierk was on the ice at the prospect development camp on Monday for his first day as the team's new Goaltending Prospect Coach, replacing Jon Elkin, whose contract was not renewed.

Bierk played 20 of his 47 NHL games for the Coyotes from 2002-04. He and Coyotes Goaltending Coach Corey Schwab were teammates within the Tampa Bay Lightning organization from 1997-99.

• Here's Chayka's explanation of the trade on Sunday night that brought defenseman Robbie Russo to the Coyotes from the Detroit Red Wings for a conditional 2019 draft pick.

"He's a guy our scouts have a lot of passion for, think highly of and adds to the depth of our group," Chayka said. "He's also a right-shot, mobile puck mover that we think has some upside, too."

• The search for a new head coach for the Tucson Roadrunners (AHL) continues, Chayka said. 

"Tucson is a really attractive market, not only for free-agent players, but coaches," Chayka said. "... There are some really high-level candidates that we think highly of. We'll get to a decision here soon."

• The Coyotes on Monday announced a one-year affiliation agreement with the Norfolk Admirals of the ECHL. 

"We've got a lot of 'D' coming and we've got a number of goalies," Chayka said. "At some point, we're going to have to put really good players down in the (ECHL). It's a good league … I think it was just making sure that we had the right partner to grow our players. They had the right facilities and the right mind-set for development that aligns with us."

• The prospects will skate again on Tuesday at Gila River Arena:

TEAM WHITE: 9 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. | TEAM RED: 11 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

Video: Chayka on Camp Expectations

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