GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Coyotes reported to training camp on Wednesday and new head coach André Tourigny was so excited to get to work, he arrived at the facility at 4 a.m.
It will be an uphill battle for the Coyotes this season, but general manager Bill Armstrong believes this team will shock the league.
“Someone asked me, ‘What kind of hockey team did you build?’… We built a hungry hockey team,” Armstrong said at media day.
The team was gutted in the offseason. They have no captain, no starting goalie, they’re in full rebuild and rebrand mode.
“There isn’t too many teams in the history of the NHL that have had this much turnover in a year. I don’t know if expansion teams have,” forward Christian Fischer said.
There are a lot of news faces with very little expectation national, but sometimes that can be a great thing.
“I know we have a lot of players that have a lot of pride,” said Tourigny.
“They want to prove everybody wrong.” Armstrong added, “There’s a competitive team in that dressing room. A hungry team. The rest is up to them to see how far they can push it… This is all about opportunity. There’s players coming through that door that haven’t established themselves yet, and they’re hungry to make that difference and they have opportunity in front of them. We have some veterans that our core guys, but they haven’t established themselves as that next level. So there’s a tremendous amount of opportunity in front of everybody.”
They even have the opportunity to name a new captain. Defenseman Jakob Chychrun is the likely choice.
“There’s been little talks from within, but nothing major,” said Chychrun. "That’s something I have to earn if they want to go in that direction. It would be a lot. I would be thrilled (to wear the C) and very honored.”
Coyotes will hit the ice tomorrow without top scorer Phil Kessel. He’s out for 2-3 weeks after suffering a foot injury training a few weeks ago. Three weeks would mean returning on the eve of the Coyotes’ regular-season opener in Columbus against the Blue Jackets.
Locked on Coyotes Podcast
Stay up to date with the latest Arizona Coyotes news with the Locked on Coyotes podcast. It's available wherever you listen to podcasts.