Kevin Bahl had a lot of hype going into this year’s training camp. Sure it was unlikely that he was going to make the team, but after a solid season with the Ottawa 67’s you could see him making a push.
The #Coyotes have returned defenseman Kevin Bahl to the Ottawa 67’s (OHL). There are now 52 players remaining in training camp.— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) September 18, 2019
Bahl had a stand out season last year which saw him set career highs in games played, goals scored, assists, and points. With Bahl, the Ottawa 67’s won the Bobby Orr Trophy for Eastern Conference Champions and the Hamilton Spectator Trophy for the best regular season record. He is also frequently listed as one of the Arizona Coyotes’ best prospects, and the team signed him to a three-year, entry-level contract this past March.
The biggest reason for Bahl getting re-assigned to juniors is the most obvious, Arizona doesn’t need any more defensemen. The team is pretty much full already and there are plenty of other players, further along in their development, looking to push for a spot.
But just because Bahl got reassigned early this year, doesn’t mean there is cause for concern. Bahl has improved every year in the OHL, and while an early cut from camp can lead to feelings of frustration it also offers an opportunity to grow.
The old adage is that defensemen take longer to develop than forwards, and generally this is the case. For every defenseman like Jakob Chychrun who plays right after being drafted, many more forwards make it to the NHL first.