With two weeks to go before their regular season opener, the Arizona Coyotes were going to have to begin trimming their roster down. On Sunday afternoon, the Coyotes took a big step towards doing that.
Arizona announced that 17 players had been demoted or released from training camp. 15 of them will travel just slightly further south to Tucson to join the Roadrunners in the AHL.
Some of the notables to receive demotions include forwards Michael Bunting and Henrik Samuelsson, who were both challenging for some of the Coyotes' open wing spots. Bunting and Samuelsson took important strides in their development; Samuelsson in particular looked much improved over the past couple of seasons.
Also demoted were Brendan Perlini and Conor Garland, who will both begin their professional careers in the AHL. Garland will have to overcome his size issues to stick in the NHL, while Perlini will try to get back on track after an extremely underwhelming OHL season. Both players should benefit from extended attention from Steve Sullivan and the Coyotes' development staff.
The two players who will not be going to Tucson are Nick Merkley and Zach Boychuk. Merkley's return to the WHL was expected as part of his recovery from surgery that limited him to 43 games last season. Boychuk was in Arizona on a professional tryout agreement, and is now a free agent.
Notable Coyotes staying in Arizona for now include Lawson Crouse, Dylan Strome, Christian Fischer, Christian Dvorak, and Jakob Chychrun. Arizona needs to make eight more roster cuts to get to 23, so expect more tough decisions to come in the near future.
Full List of Roster Cuts
Assigned to Tucson (AHL)
- Michael Bunting - Left Wing
- Brendan Perlini - Left Wing
- Eric Selleck - Left Wing
- Garret Ross - Left Wing
- Tyler Gaudet - Center
- Ryan MacInnis - Center
- Chris Mueller - Center
- Craig Cunningham - Right Wing
- Conor Garland - Right Wing
- Henrik Samuelsson - Right Wing
- Dysin Mayo - Right-Handed
- Kyle Wood - Right-Handed
- Justin Hache - Left-Handed
- Adin Hill - Left-Handed
- Marek Langhamer - Left-Handed
Assigned to WHL
- Nick Merkley - Right Wing (Kelowna Rockets)
Released from PTO
- Zach Boychuk - Center