The Arizona Coyotes have announced that defenseman Conor Timmins has undergone successful knee surgery and, as previously reported, will not return this season. The team also announced that prospect Liam Kirk has had knee surgery and will also not play again this season.
Timmins, 23, just can’t catch a break when it comes to his health, as he’ll now miss another full season due to injury. Selected 32nd overall in 2017, he has played just 97 games since the start of the 2018-19 season. He missed that entire year and a good chunk of the following ones with concussion issues and now will be 24 before he hits the ice for a competitive game again.
It’s a troubling trend for a player that was so impressive with the Soo Greyhounds and Team Canada in junior. At his peak, Timmins would immediately shut down opposition rushes with a quick stick, and transition the puck back with crisp passing. The 6’2″ defenseman had 61 points in 67 games in his draft year, and then helped Canada win gold at the WJC in 2018.
In today’s NHL where mobile, lengthy defensemen that can effectively move the puck are worth their weight in gold, Timmins seemed to be a prototypical option. Now, after another lost development year, it’s hard to know exactly where his career path lies. Acquired from the Colorado Avalanche as part of the Darcy Kuemper deal in the offseason, Timmins signed a two-year deal with Arizona that carries a cap hit of just $850K. Hopefully, he can return to full strength next season and play a regular role on the team’s blueline.
Kirk meanwhile was in his first season at the AHL level, after spending last season in the EIHL with his former club team, the Sheffield Steelers. The first player born and trained in England to be selected in the NHL draft, the 21-year-old went 189th overall in 2018. After two successful years at the OHL level, he signed his entry-level contract in June and was off to a fine start with the Tucson Roadrunners. In eight games he had two goals and three points, but will have to wait until next season to continue his development.