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 Tucson Roadrunners

Roadrunners Lead League in NHL Debuts

May 14, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Tucson Roadrunners News Release

Tucson, AZ- Six Tucson Roadrunner players made their NHL debuts in the 2023-24 season; which tied for first in the AHL.

The six Roadrunners players who made their NHL debuts with the Arizona Coyotes include: Matthew Villalta, Patrik Koch, Cam Crotty, Josh Doan, Max Szuber and Aku Raty.

Villalta made his NHL debut on February 16 versus the Carolina Hurricanes in relief in the third period; stopping all four shots he faced. He made his first career NHL start at home on February 19 against the Edmonton Oilers; making 20 saves on 25 shots in a 6-3 loss. Villalta finished his first year in Tucson with a 2.54 goals against average and .911 save percentage and 31-17-3 record. His 31 wins and 51 starts were both ranked first in the AHL.

Koch played in his first NHL game on March 7 versus the Minnesota Wild at home. He finished with a 10-minute misconduct, one shot and 9:20 minutes of ice time. Koch completed his first season in the AHL with one goal and 14 assists for 15 points in 63 games played for the Roadrunners.

Crotty took his first NHL skate on March 24 at home versus the Dallas Stars. He became the first Coyote ever to wear number 95; while completing his debut with 10:03 of ice time. Crotty finished his fourth season with the Roadrunners; combining three goals and 10 assists for 13 points in 55 games.

Josh Doan had an electrifying debut on March 26 versus the Columbus Blue Jackets in the same arena he played college for Arizona State University at Mullett Arena; scoring his first two career goals in a 6-2 victory. Doan became the first Arizona born hockey player to make his debut for the Coyotes; as well as the first player in Coyotes history to score multiple goals in his first NHL game; and the first Coyote to have points in his first three career games. Doan went on to play 11 games with the Coyotes: nabbing five goals and four assists for nine points. He concluded his first full professional season in Tucson with 26 goals and 20 assists for 46 points; which both led the team in goals and total points.

Szuber played his first NHL game on April 9 in Seattle versus the Seattle Kraken: with a 16:59 time on ice and two penalty minutes. On the Roadrunners this season, Szuber tallied seven goals and 21 assists for 28 points. His plus/minus of +14 was the most in a season all-time by a Roadrunners rookie defenseman.

Raty played in the final game for the Coyotes this season at home on April 17; recording one assist for his first career NHL point in a 5-2 victory over the Oilers. His 44 points were the second-best on the Roadrunners roster; scoring 15 goals and adding 29 assists in 55 games.

Other AHL teams who were top five in NHL debuts include: Syracuse (6), Calgary (5), Rochester (5) and Belleville (5).

Out of the Pacific Division, the Roadrunners had one more player make their NHL debut over Calgary's five for the most. Other teams' NHL debut numbers include: Colorado with four players, San Jose, Coachella Valley and Henderson with three and Abbotsford, Ontario and Bakersfield with two.

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