Tippett: Speed, skill stand out at Coyotes development camp

Dave Tippett never expected the Coyotes’ prospect development camp to offer much in the way of player evaluations. This was more about putting faces to names and setting expectations for players hoping to make it to the NHL level.

Even so, two things jumped out at the Coyotes coach from the now concluded on-ice portion of the camp.

"The speed and skill of the group is very high," he said Thursday evening. "In a smaller group, you tend to notice people more, but when you’re talking about two areas we really need to add to our group, it was there in spades."

The Coyotes made a conscious decision to whittle the numbers at camp. In previous years, it was 40-plus players and it was more difficult to notice or talk to individuals. This year, the club had 29 players on the ice, including goalies.

"There was a lot more emphasis on educating and growing young players," Tippett said. "When it was all said and done, I thought it was an excellent camp."

Tippett has a few more meetings scheduled before he heads to his summer home in Minnesota this weekend. He won’t be back in Arizona until early August.

The Coyotes added John Slaney to their coaching staff on Wednesday, signing the former AHL standout defenseman to a multi-year contract. This will be Slaney’s fifth season with the organization. He spent the previous four seasons as an assistant coach with the club’s American Hockey League affiliate in Portland.

Slaney will help coach the penalty killing unit but he will also serve as an eye in the sky during games, watching both the game and video replay from the press box. With a coach’s challenge coming next season, Tippett said the staff will need to be on top of things to make decisions quickly. 

Former assistant Sean Burke previously served as the Coyotes’ eye in the sky.

Tippett offered early impressions of a couple key pieces of the Coyotes’ future, center Dylan Strome and wing Anthony Duclair.

On Strome: "You can tell he’s a real smart player; a rangy player with a long stick who’s great with the puck and has great vision.

"I had a good talk with him. He’s a very mature young man. Some of that comes from the situation he’s been in as a high-profile, high pick, but some of that maturity comes from having a brother who has gone through this whole process for years. I think that has been a big help to him."

On Duclair: "Excellent quickness and skill are his two greatest assets. Those are elements of our game that we really need to improve so in that sense he was very noticeable.

"He’s a very hungry young player who wants to take the next step and he didn’t disappoint in the skill and quickness department. All the assets people spoke of in his game were front and center."

Frederic Chabot served as a goaltending consultant for the Coyotes development camp, but he won’t be replacing Sean Burke as the team’s goalie coach.

"He’s looking for a position in more of a developmental situation where he’d help with the goaltenders in the organization," Tippett said. "I know him well from having him as a player in Houston (IHL)."

The Coyotes are still in discussions with Chabot about that role. They are still weighing their options for a goalie coach to replace Burke, whose contract expired on June 30.

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