Coyotes waive Michalek, Dahlbeck as roster deadline nears
Top prospects Christian Dvorak, Dylan Strome, Lawson Crouse and Jakob Chychrun all remain in play for opening-night spots on the Arizona Coyotes following a series of moves that has trimmed the roster to 25.
The roster must be cut to 23 by 2 p.m. Tuesday (Arizona time).
Bob McKenzie of TSN reported Monday that the Coyotes placed defensemen Zbynek Michalek and Klas Dahlbeck on waivers.
Michalek, 33, is a 13-year veteran who has played 609 games over nine seasons and three different stints with the Coyotes. A rugged, stay-at-home defenseman, he had two goals and five assists last season in 70 games after returning to the team in 2015 as a free agent with a two-year, $6.4 million contract.
Dahlbeck, 25, played 71 games in his first full season with the Coyotes last year and had two goals and six assists. He was acquired in the 2015 deal that sent Antoine Vermette to Chicago.
Those moves follow five roster cuts on Saturday. Goalie Justin Peters, defensemen Anthony DeAngelo and Dakota Mermis and right wings Stefan Fournier and Christian Fischer were assigned to Tucson of the AHL.
The Coyotes have 25 players remaining on the roster, and that includes Jarred Tinordi, who won’t count against the roster limit while serving the remaining four games of a performance-enhancing substance suspension.
The status of two other defensemen will be cleared up on Tuesday. Michael Stone, recovering from March surgery to repair a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee, has just been cleared for contact. Kevin Connauton has also been sidelined for much of training camp with a lower body injury. One or both could begin the season on injured reserve — decisions that will have ripple effects on the rest of the roster.
Heading into Tuesday, the roster is as follows:
Goalies (2): Mike Smith, Louis Domingue.
Defensemen (9): Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Connor Murphy, Alex Goligoski, Luke Schenn, Jakob Chychrun, Jamie McBain, Kevin Connauton, Michael Stone, Jarred Tinordi.
Centers (6): Martin Hanzal, Brad Richardson, Ryan White, Christian Dvorak, Dylan Strome, Laurent Dauphin.
Left wings (4): Max Domi, Jamie McGinn, Jordan Martinook, Lawson Crouse.
Right wings (4): Shane Doan, Anthony Duclair, Radim Vrbata, Tobias Rieder.
Head coach Dave Tippett will have some sorting out to do among the centers, although both Richardson and White could play on the wing. Dvorak and Strome are fast, creative, offense-minded centers that the organization has lacked for years, but they come with growing pains and learning curves. Dauphin has impressed the staff with his ability to handle a fourth-line, penalty-killer role.
"He’s played very well in that role that we have him in — that fourth-line center role," Tippett told ArizonaCoyotes.com. "He’s competed very hard … He’s still young, but that competitiveness that he has is hard to overlook."
Crouse, 19, and Chychrun, 18, have emerged as perhaps the most pleasant surprises of camp. As with Strome, 19, Tippett will have to determine if their development will be better served learning on the fly at the NHL level.
"I really want to stay here and contribute," Chychrun told the Coyotes web site. "I think I’ve done a pretty good job of showing them the reasons why I think I can play in this league this year."