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'Yotes Notes: With Richardson Out, Weal Provides Depth at Center

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

EDMONTON -- The Coyotes on Friday placed center Brad Richardson on the injured-reserve list because of an upper-body injury he suffered in Thursday's game at Vancouver. Then, later in the day, Arizona acquired center Jordan Weal from Philadelphia in a deal that sent minor-league defenseman Jacob Graves and a sixth-round pick in this year's NHL Draft to the Flyers. 

The Coyotes are expecting Weal, 26, to join the team in Edmonton on Saturday in time for the game against the Oilers. In 28 games with the Flyers this season, he produced three goals and six assists, and won 59.7 percent of his face-offs.

"He's a very hard worker and he can skate," Head Coach Rick Tocchet said of Weal, who has played 134 NHL games, all but 10 for Philadelphia. "He plays that center position, which we're lacking depth at right now, so we're excited to get him. There's some offense to his game and I think he's got a good hockey IQ, which I like."

Weal played the first 10 games of his NHL career for the Los Angeles Kings, who drafted him 70th overall in 2010. While with the Kings organization, Weal led the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League to the Calder Cup championship in 2014-15. He was named the MVP of the AHL playoffs that season after notching 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in 19 games.

"It was a shock at first, then I just got really excited the more and more I thought about it," Weal said about the trade. "Coming to a team like this, it's got so much speed and skill. When we played them a couple months ago, I could really tell it's a young group that's moving forward."

• Forward Nick Cousins and Weal were teammates in Philadelphia, at times, from 2015-17.

"He's a good two-way player," Cousins said. "He's still trying to find his way in the League but I played with him a little bit in Philly and I like the way he plays. He's got some skill to his game and he's good on face-offs, so obviously with our injuries we can use a centerman like that. We're excited to have him."

Video: Tocchet reacts to Richardson's Injury, Trade for Weal

• Richardson, who leads Arizona with 11 goals, is considered week-to-week. He also ranks first on the team in face-off winning percentage (54.7).

"It's a big blow," Tocchet said. "'Richie' has been our most consistent forward this year. He's a buy-in guy and a leader on our team. I feel bad for 'Richie' too because he's having a great year for us. Hopefully he can bounce back in a month and we can get him back quickly. Like I said, it's a big blow, but we're used to it around here right now."

Richardson is the latest Coyotes player to suffer a significant injury this season. He joins goalie Antti Raanta, defenseman Jason Demers, and forwards Christian Dvorak, Michael Grabner and Nick Schmaltz on the sidelines.

Despite the rash of injuries, the Coyotes are just six points behind Minnesota, which owns the second wildcard playoff spot, in the Western Conference standings.

"I think if you dwell on (injuries) you lose energy," Tocchet said. "The one thing we've tried to do is ... just find an identity with our team with our style of play. Obviously we have to play different ways to generate stuff, but I still think we're defending pretty good. We might not be getting a ton of chances on the other end, but I like the way we're defending and trying to stay in the games."

• Given Richardson's status, Tocchet was asked if he's considering moving Alex Galchenyuk back to center.

"I'm not sure right now," Tocchet said. "I like Alex where he is. He's producing right now on the wing."

Galchenyuk has tallied four goals and seven assists in his past nine games playing on left wing, and the Coyotes are 10-4-2 in the 16 games in which Galchenyuk has made it into the scoring summary.

• Tocchet said Darcy Kuemper, who has stopped 56 of 59 shots in the past two games, would start vs. Edmonton on Saturday night, and Adin Hill would most likely get the start on Sunday night at Calgary.

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