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Coyotes C Barrett Hayton reclaims 1st line role after lengthy layoff

© Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Coyotes are amidst a difficult patch of the season as they are winless in their past eight games.

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Their most recent 5-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes added insult to injury as they have earned only one point during the stretch (0-7-1).

Trying to figure out what recipe can snap themselves out of this funk, Coyotes head coach André Tourigny and his staff have jumbled up the lines numerous times.

Ramping Up the Action

With nothing seeming able to turn their misfortunes around, center Barrett Hayton has jumped right back into a highly-coveted position just five games into his return from an extended period out.

Turning back the clock to Nov. 16, Hayton suffered an upper-body injury which forced him to miss approximately three months.

Hayton would then return to practice before fully making his comeback, skating on a line consisting of Dylan Guenther and Logan Cooley in the Coyotes’ 3-2 loss to the Golden Knights on Feb. 8.

Since then, the trio would stick together for two more games until Hayton would be implemented onto the first line between Nick Schmaltz and Clayton Keller as the 3-1 defeat against the Minnesota Wild was slowly drawing to a close.

The starting lineup came out vs. the ‘Canes last night, with Hayton back as the No. 1 center for the ‘Yotes. Prior to his injury, the 23-year-old recorded two goals and two assists in 16 games with Keller and Schmaltz in the same position.

Though he has one assist through the past five games, Hayton has been noticeable when it comes to his play away from the puck.

Visionary passing, creating space, his willingness to crash the net and to get into the dirty areas highlights just some of the aspects of his game.

Tourigny has spoke multiple times this season about Hayton and his overall presence being more impactful than just his offensive production. He repeated the same message postgame last night.

“When Hayt’s wins battles, has pace in his game, going at the net, he is an important piece for us,” Tourigny said.


Making a short away trip, Hayton and the Coyotes face the Colorado Avalanche tomorrow at 4 p.m. MST.

Hurricanes win 5-1, gave Coyotes 8th consecutive loss

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

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