When young Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun underwent knee surgery earlier this month, the timeline for his return was “indefinite” and there was fear that he could miss the entire 2017-18 season. Even when new head coach Rick Tocchet indicated that Chychrun was sure to return this season, there was still skepticism. Now, Arizona Sports’ Craig Morgan has heard from GM John Chayka that the sophomore rearguard’s injury is “definitely not season-ending”.
In speaking with Chayka, Morgan reports that Chychrun is “progressing really well” and that his high-end strength and conditioning has made for an expedited rehab and recovery period. Chayka did not give any details on the nature of the injury, but did day that it is very unlikely that Chychrun would be ready for the beginning of the season. It would be more like a miracle, given the extensiveness of the surgery mere weeks ago, but Chayka seemed optimistic that Chychrun would return much earlier than in most cases.
In the meantime, Chayka mentioned that 2016 AHL All-Star Kyle Wood is the early favorite for Chychrun’s roster spot and would likely fill the seventh defenseman role. This seemingly confirms that off-season addition Adam Clendening will be made a starter to begin the campaign. Chayka also mentioned that AHL veterans Joel Hanley and Andrew Campbell would be given a look and that the team is actively looking into securing a professional tryout with one or two available blue liners. Dennis Wideman, John-Michael Liles, and Fedor Tyutin lead the list of capable veteran defenseman who may be intrigued by a PTO with Arizona. The Coyotes are swimming in forward depth with many promising prospects ready to make the jump, but the same cannot be said on defense. Even with the additions of Clendening and Niklas Hjalmarsson and the eventual return of Chychrun, a PTO could turn into a major role for the right player.