The Arizona Coyotes have recalled defenseman Patrik Koch from their AHL affiliate, the Tucson Roadrunners.
The move puts the 26-year-old Slovak defenseman in a position to make his NHL debut, a debut that would come just a few short months removed from the start of his North American professional career. An undrafted veteran of the Czech and Slovak leagues, Koch was signed by Arizona this past summer after a solid season in Czechia.
Playing for HC Vítkovice, Koch scored 12 points in 46 games and helped the club reach the Czech semifinals. He also earned a spot on Slovakia’s team for the 2023 IIHF Men’s World Championship, where his country would only narrowly miss out on advancement to the playoffs.
So far this season Koch has played entirely in the AHL with the Roadrunners. He has most recently been listed on the team’s third pairing alongside Montana Onyebuchi, usage that does not indicate that he would be a prime call-up candidate. That being said, Koch provides quite a bit of bite and physicality, something other call-up candidates such as Victor Söderström or Maksymilian Szuber don’t offer as readily.
With the Coyotes preparing to play a tough Philadelphia Flyers squad that boasts fearsome forwards such as Nicolas Deslauriers and Garnet Hathaway, recalling Koch adds a bruising defenseman to an Arizona defense that is currently not overflowing with overwhelmingly physical players outside veteran Josh Brown.