After waiving defenseman Joel Hanley earlier today, it seems that another rookie is poised to make his debut in Arizona. The Coyotes have recalled 20-year old Kyle Capobianco for the first time in his professional career, and could insert him in the lineup should Niklas Hjalmarsson not be ready to return on Thursday. The team is in the midst of a four-game road trip, and will take on the Boston Bruins later this week.
Capobianco leads all defenseman in Tucson with 14 points this season and is another very intriguing prospect for the Coyotes. Drafted in the third round in 2015, he has continued to show off his high-end skating ability and developed into a formidable two-way presence. Though he’s not imposing physically, he does have the height and reach needed to succeed in the defensive end, and can move the puck out of trouble quickly with his feet. Whether that immediately translates to the NHL is still to be seen.
After a summer of moves to accelerate the Coyotes rebuild process—acquiring veterans like Hjalmarsson, Derek Stepan, Jason Demers and Antti Raanta—the team looked lost at the beginning of the season, unable to win in regulation. With a strong recent stretch they’ve turned that around and are trying to climb back into the race in the Pacific Division. To do that, they’ll have to really rely on their young players and Capobianco could be one of them. We’ll have to watch and see if he gets into the lineup, or if this is just a taste of NHL life.