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Coyotes' roster for season opener appears set, for now, after roster moves

José M. Romero
Arizona Republic
May 8, 2021; San Jose, California, USA; San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl (48) controls the puck against Arizona Coyotes defenseman Victor Soderstrom (77) during the first period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The players on the ice for Arizona Coyotes practice Monday at Gila River told the story of the day — the team, still unofficially, has its 23-man roster to open the 2021-2022 season set, with the NHL deadline to do so arriving later that afternoon.

Things can change with the Coyotes not playing until Thursday in Columbus, but for now there are 23 able bodies who were all in training camp with the team.

There are 14 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies. With forward Alex Galchenyuk (upper body injury) and defensemen Kyle Capobianco (lower body injury) week to week  and forwards Barrett Hayton and Ryan McGregor assigned to AHL Tucson Monday afternoon, the Coyotes' number of players stands at 23. 

They are centers Nick Schmaltz, Jay Beagle, Johan Larsson, Travis Boyd; wings Clayton Keller, Ryan Dzingel, Andrew Ladd, Loui Eriksson, Antoine Roussel, Christian Fischer, Liam O'Brien, Lawson Crouse, Phil Kessel and Dimitrij Jaskin; defensemen Jakob Chychrun, Shayne Gostisbehere, Conor Timmins, Ilya Lyubushkin, Vladislav Provolnev, Anton Stralman and Victor Soderstrom; goaltenders Carter Hutton and Karel Vejmelka. 

"To be honest, when we look up front, we fill the 14 forwards that we have, we like them," Coyotes head coach André Tourigny said. He added that he is confident that Kessel, coming off a foot injury that had him out of training camp until last week, will be ready to play when the season starts. 

Arizona Coyotes forward Liam O'Brien, right, controls the puck past Los Angeles Kings defenseman Tobias Bjornfot, left, during the third period of a preseason NHL hockey game in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Soderstrom and O'Brien had been considered possibilities to open the season with the Roadrunners. But Soderstrom provided some offense, looked confident on special teams and  Tourigny. said he likes the 20-year-old in a defenseman pairing with Lyubushkin.

O'Brien, who has played mostly in the AHL, is a player who will provide a physical presence with some offensive ability. 

"Camp was awesome. I think 'Bear' (Tourigny) set the pace right off the bat," O'Brien said. "I think he set us up for a good start to the season.

"For me, my biggest thing is I just compete. I think that's a big part of our identity here in Arizona. That's why it makes it such a good fit. I'm just excited to be here and grateful for the opportunity," he added.

Another defensive pairing looks to be Chychrun and Timmins, who is new to the team this season. Tourigny feels both can move the puck.

Stralman figures to pair with Gostisbehere. 

A team retreat — an overnight camping trip to Payson this past weekend — followed by a scheduled team dinner Monday night were designed to further chemistry among the current group.

Get in touch with Jose Romero at Jose.Romero@gannett.com. Find him on Twitter at @RomeroJoseM.