Feb. 5: Kampfer and Kirkland were returned to the minors late Sunday night, the team said. It’s unclear why both players were brought up for such a short stint on a non-game day.
Arizona last recalled Kirkland, 27, before the All-Star break on an emergency basis, although he was scratched for their Jan. 27 loss to the Hurricanes. The eight-year AHL veteran logged two games with the Coyotes in early January, recording one shot on goal and winning eight out of 12 faceoffs in 14 total minutes of ice time.
After joining the Coyotes on a one-year deal last summer, Kirkland has notched two goals and 15 assists for 17 points through 21 games in Tucson. His 0.81 points-per-game average is the highest of his AHL career.
His latest stint on the NHL roster will likely be brief. He comes up to serve as an extra forward in case recent waiver pickup Adam Ružička, who is still working through the immigration process after being claimed from the Flames 10 days ago, is unable to join the team by their Feb. 8 game against the Golden Knights. However, PHNX Sports’ Craig Morgan reports Ružička is likely to join the squad by Tuesday, so Kirkland may get sent down within the next 72 hours.
Kampfer’s recall could be more permanent. The 35-year-old is slated to be the seventh defenseman on the active roster as Mathew Dumba and Troy Stecher remain on injured reserve for the foreseeable future.
If he plays, it will be Kampfer’s first NHL game in almost three years. The Ann Arbor, Michigan, native last suited up in May 2021 with the Bruins and has spent the last three seasons with Russia’s Ak Bars Kazan and in the AHL with the Red Wings and Coyotes organizations. He’s played sparingly with Tucson this year, only suiting up 18 times in 43 games, but he’s recorded four assists and a +3 rating while assuming the captaincy. Kampfer has 15 goals, 39 points and a -1 rating across 231 NHL games with the Bruins, Panthers, Rangers, and Wild since entering the league in 2010.