In doing so, the team has freed up a spot on the active roster, potentially indicating one of their three players on injured reserve, likely forward Jack McBain or defenseman Travis Dermott, could be nearing a return. It could also be a transaction to give the 23-year-old Jeník some playing action in tonight’s contest with the Roadrunners against the Henderson Silver Knights, as the Coyotes are out of action until Tuesday.
Arizona summoned Jeník from the minors over a week ago after announcing that center Barrett Hayton would be sidelined week-to-week with an upper-body injury. Jeník was a healthy scratch in three of four games during his call-up, making his lone appearance (and season debut) last Wednesday against the St. Louis Blues. In that contest, he logged just 8:21 of ice time, one shot on goal and a -1 rating.
He’s been used in a similarly limited role during previous call-ups this season, also serving as a healthy scratch for a couple of games last month. A third-round pick of the Coyotes in 2018, Jeník is now in his fourth professional season after making his NHL debut during the 2020-21 campaign. He’s on his second NHL contract after his entry-level deal expired last summer, inking a one-year, two-way pact with a minimum guaranteed salary of $125K after reportedly seeking a trade upon reaching restricted free agency.
In 18 NHL games, Jeník has tallied four goals, one assist and a -4 rating while averaging 10:10 per game. While not a highly-touted prospect on draft day, he had a solid finish to his junior career that positioned him as a potential top-six fixture in Arizona if things panned out the right way. That seems unlikely now, as he’s yet to come close to carving out a full-time role for himself and is off to a mediocre start with Tucson, notching two goals and three assists in nine games. His professional point production has continued to decrease from its peak in 2021-22 when he notched 47 points in 51 games for the Roadrunners.
Next summer, Jeník will once again be a restricted free agent. Unlike last year, he will be eligible for salary arbitration. He’s due a qualifying offer of $813,750 per CapFriendly; however, if things continue in their current direction, Jeník seems like a strong non-tender candidate and could find himself on the open market when July 1 rolls around.