The Arizona Coyotes are reuniting with one of their former first round picks.
The Coyotes have claimed F Viktor Tikhonov off waivers (Chicago). Was a first round pick of Coyotes in 2008 (28th overall).— Craig Morgan (@craigsmorgan) December 6, 2015
With the return of Bryan Bickell, the Chicago Blackhawks put forward Viktor Tikhonov on waivers. The Coyotes promptly snatched up their former first rounder, who recorded 16 points in the 2008-09 season with Arizona.
After his rookie debut, Tikhonov spent the next two seasons in the American Hockey League before returning to Russia. He emerged as a serious offensive threat in four seasons with SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL, where he scored 55 goals and 60 assists in 182 games. When he announced his intent to return to the NHL, the Coyotes tried very hard to re-sign their former pick:
Coyotes tried to bring Tikhonov back this summer when they still owned his rights (before July 1), but he wanted to test free agent waters.— Craig Morgan (@craigsmorgan) December 6, 2015
In 11 appearances with the Blackhawks this season, Tikhonov recorded zero points and a 55.0% 5v5 Corsi For Percentage. He is making $1.04 million on a one-year deal.
It's uncertain at this point exactly who Tikhonov will replace; the Coyotes are currently at their 23 man roster limit even without Tikhonov on the roster, which means someone will have to be assigned to the AHL.
Tikhonov's arrival also comes as several young Coyotes forwards are in the scoring doldrums. Tobias Rieder has not scored in 14 games, while Anthony Duclair has only two goals in his last nine games.
Ultimately, Viktor Tikhonov should bring some additional stability to the Coyotes up front, as well as some versatility to move up and down the lineup.