Continuing the Countdown to Coyotes' Preseason we take a look at the the significance of the number 24 in the Phoenix Coyotes organization. 24 is the jersey currently worn by forward, Kyle Chipchura. Chippy as we came to know him as was just that last season, chippy. Chipchura had six fights under his belt by season's end, with the addition of two bouts in both pre and post season. The 26 year-old center from Westlock, Alberta wasn't often seen on the scoring sheet but nevertheless grinding away night in, night out. Getting pucks in deep, battling along the boards, and hitting anything that moved is what we came accustom to from Kyle Chipchura.
Chipchura was originally drafted 18th overall by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. The Alberta native struggled to find his footing at the NHL level, spending a majority of his time with the franchise playing for their AHL affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs. After being traded to the Anaheim Ducks in 2009, Kyle continued to struggle in the scoring department, falling into the same pattern as seen in Montreal.
In 163 games between his two former teams, Chip only recorded 10 goals and 18 assists. After hitting the market as a free agent in 2010, he signed a one year- two way contract with the Coyotes. A move to that later proved to beneficial to the 26 years-old forward. Catching the eye of the coaching staff during training camp, Chipchura stood out to Head Coach Dave Tippett. Chip's hard work paid off when he was called up after playing only eight games with the Coyotes' AHL affiliate, the Portland Pirates. Finding his place on the fourth line, Chipchura went on to score three goals and 13 assists during the regular season while adding four more points in the post-season. In a memorable moment in Coyotes' history, he hammered the final nail in the Blackhawks' coffin in Game 6 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Coming off his best NHL season yet, Kyle found himself a restricted free agent on July 1st. The rugged forward and the Phoenix Coyotes agreed on a new one year contract on July 6.