May 21, 2014, 2:58 PM EDT
Could Russian forward Viktor Tikhonov be on his way back to North America?
According to the Arizona Republic, Coyotes GM Don Maloney has reached out to Tikhonov’s agent to see if the 28th overall pick in 2008 is interested in a return to the NHL.
Tikhonov, 26, scored 16 points in 61 games in his rookie year with Phoenix in ’08-09 — led by then-head coach Wayne Gretzky — but was sent to the minors (along with fellow youngsters) Kyle Turris and Mikkel Boedker) after Gretzky was replaced by Dave Tippett.
In 2011, Tikhonov returned to his native Russia and joined KHL club SKA St. Petersburg, where he’s enjoyed a good amount of success. He scored 18 goals and 34 points in 52 games this year and was named to Russia’s Olympic squad in Sochi, appearing in two games while registering one assist.
Currently, Tikhonov leads the ’14 Worlds in scoring, with 14 points through seven games.
The Russian forward’s last NHL deal came with the Coyotes in 2011-12 — a one-year, $826,875 deal — and he would still technically be an RFA, with Phoenix holding his NHL rights. It’s unclear if Maloney is interested in bringing Tikhonov back to play for Phoenix, or simply getting him back to North America in the hopes of shopping him to another team.
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