With a lot of turnover expected this summer, the Arizona Coyotes have reportedly already secured the services of an overseas free agent defenseman.
With results largely inconsistent, and with general manager Bill Armstrong expected to try and make his mark on the team’s roster, this off-season could see wholesale changes made to the Coyotes.
One area that is undoubtedly set for a makeover is the team’s defensive corps, with the likes of Alex Goligoski, Jason Demers, and Niklas Hjalmarsson all unrestricted free agents once the shortened 2021 season is over.
At present, the Coyotes only have Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Jakob Chychrun locked up beyond this season, so the need to make changes and bring in new faces is more apparent than it has been for some years.
With Victor Soderstrom as the future of the blueline, there will be opportunities for him and others such as Kyle Capobianco to stake a claim for a roster spot, but new faces will be needed to fill out the rest of the top six.
With that in mind, the Arizona Coyotes have reportedly agreed to a deal with impending Russian free agent Vladislav Provolnev, who currently plies his trade with Severstal Cherepovets of the KHL.
The 25-year-old left-handed defenseman has prototypical size, standing at 6-foot-3, 194lbs, and is currently having the strong season of his career, with ten goals and 20 total points in 48 regular-season games - being named Defenseman of the Week back in Week 14 of the KHL season.
He has been a regular feature in the top league outside of North America since 2016, even being named Rookie of the Week once during his debut season, racking up 240 regular-season appearances (20 goals, 29 assists).
The Coyotes will be hoping that Provolnev can be a regular contributor to the team in a similar way to fellow countryman Ilya Lyubushkin, who also arrived in the desert as a free agent signing from the KHL back in 2018.
While there is still a long way to go before the off-season, it will be pleasing for Coyotes fans to see the team making preparations in advance, landing a promising defensive player that can provide some offense while also being willing to put in some physical shifts.