The Arizona Coyotes waived defenseman Zbynek Michalek earlier in the 2016-17 season – and while the club left him up at the NHL level for their season home opener, he’s now been reassigned to the minor leagues after just the one game.
The Arizona Coyotes confirmed on Monday morning that Michalek, who was a healthy scratch in Arizona’s first game of the season on Saturday evening, has been reassigned to the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners less than a week into the new season. He’ll head down to the minor league club for his first AHL stint in over a decade.
Undrafted at the NHL level, the Czech-born Michalek first went pro with the Minnesota Wild back in the 2002-03 season, signing an entry-level deal out of the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes and spending his first year playing for the AHL’s Houston Aeros (now the Iowa Wild). He played his final AHL game with the Aeros during the 2004-05 NHL lockout season, then moved to the then-Phoenix Coyotes the following season.
Since hitting the NHL, the blue liner has spent time with the Wild, Coyotes, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the St. Louis Blues – leaving the Coyotes on two separate occasions with mid-season trades and re-signing with the Pacific Division club after each departure. He’s currently on one such return to the desert, working his way through a multi-year deal with Arizona following his stint with St. Louis.
The Coyotes have enjoyed Michalek’s services for the last decade, but new young defensemen – including 2016 first-round pick Jakob Chychrun – may have pushed him out of the lineup.