The Coyotes will take the ice tonight at Gila River Arena for the first time this preseason as they host the Los Angeles Kings for a split-squad game at 7 p.m. The Coyotes and Kings will be playing the other end of the matchup at Staples Center in Los Angeles at 7:30 p.m.
Antti Raanta will start in net in Arizona and Darcy Kuemper will be between the pipes in Los Angeles, according to head coach Rick Tocchet.
Here are the full rosters:
— Richard Morin ?⚾️ (@ramorin_azc) September 18, 2018
Because the Coyotes have been skating in various groups throughout training camp, it’s difficult to project what the lines and defense pairings could look like for either game on Tuesday.
Still, the home game seems to feature more regulars than the roster headed to Staples Center. Tocchet will undoubtedly be keeping an eye on Robbie Russo and Kyle Capobianco, who both are vying for a spot on the NHL roster.
Newly minted captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson will suit up for the first time this preseason for the home contest and could bare the “C” for the first time on Tuesday. Ekman-Larsson said Tuesday morning that he wasn’t sure whether he would be wearing a letter for the game.
Dylan Strome is the headliner for the road contingent and should get a chance to prove to team staff in attendance that he is worthy of playing the center position at the NHL level. If Christian Dvorak (lower body) is not ready for the start of the season, Strome would likely be the Coyotes’ third-line center.
Here are the players expected to go for the Kings in Glendale:
#LAKings Glendale, AZ group:
Looking like Phillips, who is skating, may be an extra. pic.twitter.com/sB0fX7ev1H
— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) September 18, 2018
Several defensemen vying for a spot on the Coyotes’ roster are headed to Los Angeles, as Jordan Oesterle, Ilya Lyubushkin, Trevor Murphy and Dakota Mermis have much to prove.
Initial roster cuts could come as soon as Wednesday morning when the team reconvenes for practice at Gila River Arena. Most of these players would those headed back to juniors or to the club’s AHL affiliate in Tucson.
This would allow for Tocchet and his staff to spend more time with their NHL-caliber players ahead of the Coyotes’ third preseason game against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday in Glendale.
Youth hockey/community night
The Coyotes are also holding a youth hockey/community night tonight at Gila River Arena.
The club and the Arizona Coyotes Foundation have donated over 10,000 game tickets to all registered youth hockey players in the Valley as well as various charitable groups.
“The Coyotes are committed to Arizona, committed to positively impacting our community, and committed to growing the great game of hockey in our state,” said Coyotes Owner, Chairman and Governor Andrew Barroway said in a statement.
“We’re looking forward to having so many local youth hockey players, community heroes and service people attend our game on September 18th. We appreciate everything that they do to serve and impact our community, our country and our state.”