With Hayton joining up with Team Canada to attend the World Junior Championships, the Coyotes had an empty roster spot and are giving one of their most promising minor league players a chance to impress.
The 22-year-old winger, who originally joined the Coyotes as an undrafted free agent in March 2018, has been in impressive form for the organization’s AHL affiliates the Tucson Roadrunners.
Burke worked his way through the Western Hockey League as a junior player, earning 85 goals and 338 total points in 238 regular season appearances split between spells with the Red Deer Rebels, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Moose Jaw Warriors before turning pro in 2018.
After averaging 0.5 points per game during his rookie campaign in the AHL last season, registering 13 goals and 33 total points in 67 games, Burke has taken a big step forward in 2019/20.
In 24 regular season games so far, Burke has been a point-per-game player and has 11 goals and 13 assists to his name, seeing him overtake Lane Pederson as the Roadrunners’ top point producer.
Burke has also shown himself to be a well disciplined player in the AHL this season, with just 14 penalty minutes to his name.
The Edmonton, Alberta native will now have an opportunity to rub shoulders Rick Tocchet’s NHL roster, gaining valuable experience that will undoubtedly be a positive for his development.
While he isn’t likely to feature much for the Coyotes in Hayton’s absence, he could be in line to make his NHL debut at the very least - a significant moment in his career to date.
The Roadrunners will be hoping he keeps himself healthy and learns from his time in the show, with the Coyotes’ AHL affiliates currently sitting first in the Pacific Division and second-overall in the league.
A strong showing with the Coyotes will give Burke some added confidence and motivation and could certainly help the Roadrunners out as they look to continue their extremely impressive form into the post-season for the first time since Burke first arrived.