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Newest Coyotes C Adam Ružička ‘excited to be here’ in Arizona

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The newest addition to the Arizona Coyotes has practiced for the first time with his new team and is ready to get started.

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After being claimed off of waivers from the Calgary Flames on Jan. 25, center Adam Ružička just recently arrived in The Valley after visa issues forced him to stay in Canada.

“Finally,” Ružička said when reacting to his first ice time as a Coyote. “It’s been a long time waiting for the visa. I am happy to be here and can’t wait to play a game.”

The Slovakian native played 39 games this season, scoring three goals and adding six assists for nine points.

In the NHL, Ružička suited up for a total of 114 games in four seasons while collecting 14 goals, 40 points, 60 hits and 31 blocks.

Now that he is on Arizona, his 6-foot-4, 215-pound stature adds more size down the middle to the Coyotes’ roster. Fellow center Nick Bjugstad is 6-foot-6, 209-pounds.

Additionally, Ružička reunites with defensemen Juuso Välimäki and Troy Stecher who were both Flames teammates with him during his career.

Välimäki was on the Flames from 2018-22, and Stecher went to Calgary at last year’s trade deadline. Stecher eventually came back to Arizona as a free agent in the off-season.

“It’s always nice to know some guys on the team,”Ružička said. “I heard lots of good things about the group, so I am excited to be here.”

Välimäki also spoke after the morning skate about Ružička and what he can add to the Coyotes after playing with him in Calgary.

“He’s got a lot of skill for a big frame,” Välimäki said. “He moves pretty well for that size, definitely has a good brain on him and can make plays, got a good shot. He did well and put up points at some points in Calgary. We’ll be expecting that here and he is a good addition.”

But before Ružička can make his Coyotes debut, he will have to undergo conditioning evaluations for him to be in the clear.

Tourigny provided a statement – with a humorous twist – on when to expect the 24-year-old in the lineup.

“He’s skated twice in 10 days,” Tourigny said. “He skated yesterday, he almost died on the ice. This morning he survived so we’re good to go. We just need to give him time and talk to the high performance (staff). Yesterday, they were talking about a week of conditioning for him to get back. It’s a tough 10 days without skating at that level with a new team, new system, new structure, new everything. He needs a little bit of time.”

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Alec Cipollini covers Arizona Coyotes and Cardinals news for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on his X account @AlecCipollini

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