The Arizona Coyotes may be getting back a familiar face soon as general manager John Chayka announced that forward Christian Dvorak was assigned to the Tucson Roadrunners of the AHL for a conditioning stint, according to The Athletic’s Craig Morgan (subscription required). Dvorak, who tore his pectoral muscle in training camp while rehabbing a separate injury, has missed the entire season, but is expected to be in the Roadrunners’ lineup on Wednesday.
“We were thinking about having him play (Saturday) but it got pushed back,” Chayka said. “He could do down there play one game or he might play two, three or four. It really is just kind of a feel thing at this point. If you (watched Saturday’s game against Toronto), it’s moving pretty quick out there so without a training camp or any games, he’s got to get back up and running. He is fully healthy. He really is day-to-day now.”
The 23-year-old Dvorak had put up 15 goals in each of his last two seasons in Arizona and many felt that the forward would take that next step this season. He finished the season last year with 15 goals and 37 points. The team believed he would be a significant part of the team’s offense this season and rewarded him with a six-year, $26.7MM extension in August before he got hurt. His return would be well appreciated by the team as they have a number of players on injured reserve, including starting goaltender Antti Raanta, forwards Michael Grabner, Nick Schmaltz and defenseman Jason Demers among many.
The Arizona Republic’s Richard Morin writes that the team will be on the road for the next three games and won’t play at home until Feb. 24 against Winnipeg, which might be the perfect time for Dvorak to make his debut, assuming all goes well on his conditioning stint.
Chayka also provided an update on three other players, including Demers who is trying to return from knee surgery in November. Demers has been skating with the team in a non-contact jersey, but remains week-to-week. He hasn’t been medically cleared yet. Grabner is also close to returning after suffering a gruesome eye injury on Dec. 1. He is also skating in a non-contact jersey, but no word on when he might be ready for game action. Chayka admitted that Raanta is believed to be out for the season. While his rehab is going well, it’s unlikely there are enough games on the schedule for him to be ready in time before the season ends, unless the team made a playoff run.