TUCSON, Ariz — It's a Tuesday morning Roadrunners practice at the Tucson Arena, and head coach Jay Varady is saying something to left wing Andy Meile between drills. It's unlikely he's reminding him of the team's 21-5 record.
"We don't talk about our record very much," said Varady. "That's something that's just there. We just try to be the best version of ourselves that we can be."
This year's Roadrunners are led in part by Brayden Burke, who is tied for the team lead with 24 points. Goali Adin Hill and Ivan Prsosvetov are saving better than 90% of their shots against them.
"Recently our goaltending has been really, really, good," said Burke.
It's organizational success designed to start in Tucson. There are six former Roadrunners who are every game players with the Coyotes, most notably Conor Garland. Garland spent parts of three seasons in Tucson, and now leads the first place Coyotes in goals with twelve.
"Part of our job has been able to develop our players and provide them with the opportunity and skill set necessary so if they do get called up, they're ready to contribute at that level, and Garland is a good example," said Varady.
Burke is back from a recent stint with the Coyotes. A return to the NHL is likely, but he also knows prospects can be traded. Last week, two Roadrunners were sent to the New Jersey Devils for former all-star Taylor Hall.
"Everyone is here to make it to the next level," said Burke. "You pull your suocks up and do your best with a new team. Obviously, I love Arizona, and I hope I get another chance with the Coyotes."