Well-traveled Riley Nash arrives to join new Coyotes teammates
The arrival of Riley Nash comes at a time when the Arizona Coyotes are in need of healthy centers, with Jay Beagle out for the foreseeable future after core muscle surgery and Friday’s news that Barrett Hayton has a hand injury that could cost him some time.
Nash took part in his first Coyotes practice Friday after Arizona claimed him off waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday. The 32-year-old is playing for his third team this season, after starting in Winnipeg, claimed off waivers by the Lightning a month ago, and then picked up by the Coyotes.
The well-traveled Nash, 32, was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in 2010. Later he played for Boston and then Columbus, which traded him to the Toronto Maple Leafs in April 2021.
"A month here, a month there, it's been a little bit crazy. Fortunately, my family has been really good about it. My wife is really good about it. She's allowing me to do this and following me all over the place. Canada, Florida, and now out here," Nash said. "We need to get some air miles. It's been crazy, but you get some time to reflect on it and every move is another opportunity.
"I still appreciate every opportunity I get, and I try to make the most of it. Hopefully I'll help this team just get a little bit better," Nash said.
Nash felt like "damaged goods," the first time he was placed on waivers, but he quickly gathered himself and realized he had another NHL opportunity.
On a team full of players with something to prove this season, Nash fits right in. And he's crossed paths with almost all of the current Coyotes, as players he's faced in the past.
"It seems like this group, they've got a lot of workers on their team," Nash said.
Nash prides himself on being predictable in terms of his teammates knowing where he will be on the ice without thinking about it. He hopes to contribute more offensively, and his faceoff percentage is just over 53 percent this season.
Nash said he feels ready to play right away. He should get an opportunity fairly soon.
"I like the chat that we had and his knowledge and his experience," Coyotes head coach André Tourigny said. "We talked about how we play and the differences between the other teams he played with. You can see he has experience, he knows what he's talking about, he's been there, so it's good to have experienced guys like him around the team."
Coyotes (7-22-3) vs. Nashville Predators (22-11-2), 6 p.m. Saturday, Gila River Arena (Bally Sports Arizona Plus, ESPN 620 AM) — It's the Central Division-leading Predators against the last-place team in the division, but Arizona is 2-1-1 in its last four games with a combined 20 goals scored. ... Johan Larsson scored a hat trick in Thursday's 6-4 win over Chicago, the Coyotes' first game won by more than one goal this season. Other players who are playing well offensively include defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and forward Clayton Keller, who have emerged as the Coyotes' leading All-Star Game candidates.... Dating back to Nov. 18, Keller has registered 19 points in his last 16 games. Keller has five goals and eight points in his last five games, and Saturday is expected to be his 323rd consecutive game played, the fourth-longest active streak in the NHL, according to the Coyotes. ... Nashville comes in having won three straight and is 8-1-1 over its last 10 games. The Predators are 12-6-2 on the road. ,,, Coyotes D Kyle Capobianco and assistant coach Mario Duhamel were placed in the NHL's COVID-19 protocol on Friday.
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Well-traveled Riley Nash arrives to join new Coyotes teammates