GLENDALE, ARIZ. – The Phoenix Coyotes trimmed their roster and split their squad to play preseason exhibition games late Sunday night in California and Arizona.
Eight players were cut from the training camp roster prior to the split-squad games against the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center and against the Anaheim Ducks at Jobing.com Arena.
Four players — forwards Kyle Hagel, Keven Veilleux and Brenden Walker and defenseman Greg Coburn — were assigned to the Portland Pirates, who are entering their third season as the American Hockey League affiliate of the Coyotes.
The Coyotes also assigned forwards Laurent Dauphin and Yan-Pavel Laplante, defenseman Justin Hache and goaltender Brendan Burke to their respective junior teams.
Portland Coach Ray Edwards and assistant coaches John Slaney and Mike Minard worked behind the bench for the preseason exhibition against the Kings in Los Angeles. Phoenix General Manager Don Maloney, assistant coach Sean Burke and director of development Dave King also made the trip to Southern California.
The 26-man squad that traveled to California included 16 players who suited up the Pirates at some point during last season.
“All of these players are trying find a way to make the team and impress somehow, and our job is help them,” Edwards said. “Just because the head coach won’t be there doesn’t mean these guys won’t be evaluated by him.”
Phoenix Coach Dave Tippett will travel to California Monday to coach the road team against the Anaheim Ducks.
Edwards and his staff are scheduled to return to Maine Tuesday.
Portland Pirates equipment manager John Krause will make the return trip on Thursday following an intra-squad scrimmage Wednesday night at Jobing.com Arena.
The Pirates are scheduled to open their camp next Monday at the MHG Center in Saco.
RIGHT WING Jordan Szwarz was the only player who spent all of last season with the Pirates assigned to play in the exhibition against the Kings Sunday night at Jobing.com Arena.
Szwarz played on a checking line with center Brandon McMillan, who played two games for the Pirates last season following a trade with Anaheim, and left wing Paul Bissonnette, a veteran of four seasons with the Coyotes.
“If we can keep the puck out of our net that’s a job well done,” said Szwarz, noting he and his linemates mainly focus on the defensive aspect of the game.
Despite missing the last month of the season because of a shoulder injury, Szwarz collected 11 goals and 22 assists in 60 games with Portland.
“I’m probably a defensive-minded forward at first, but I like to chip in on the offensive side as well,” Szwarz said.
RIGHT WING Henrik Samuelsson knows his way around the Jobing.com Arena.
“I can remember him when he was this high,” said security guard Bob Sharp Mack, extending one arm waist-high to show how tall Samuelsson was when he was hanging around the NHL team’s locker room.
Samuelsson, selected by the Coyotes during the first round of the 2012 NHL entry draft, is the 19-year-old son of former NHL defenseman Ulf Samuelsson, who served as an associate coach of the Coyotes for five seasons.
It is the first NHL training camp for the 6-foot-2, 211-pound Samuelsson, who spent the last 11/2 seasons with the junior Edmonton Oil Kings in the Western Hockey League.
Previously, he played for Modo in the Swedish Hockey League, the U.S. National Team Development Program and the Phoenix Junior Coyotes.
Samuelsson spent a half-season playing in Sweden’s top professional league on a team coached by his father, who is now an assistant coach of the New York Rangers.
“I went to Sweden to be with my family,” said the younger Samuelsson. “I played for a half-season there and then I went to the WHL because we felt my style of play fit in better in that league.
Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: