‘I was really surprised to hear that’ about Sms, says Coyotes’ Gabriel Bourque

AUSTIN, Texas — Coyotes defenseman Gabriel Bourq is excited about the possibility of playing in the National Hockey League again.

The Coyotes are in desperate need of defense help, especially in the front.

So when it came to the possibility that Bourque could play in the AHL, head coach Dave Tippett didn’t hesitate.

“We were able to find someone that could do that for us,” Bourque said.

“I thought that was a great option for us.”

Bourque was signed to an entry-level deal in July and will be on the opening night roster for the first time this season.

It was a surprise to many when the Coyotes declined the option to release him before the start of the season.

Bourque played in a couple of games in November and December, then was scratched again after a four-game stint in January.

He returned to the lineup this past weekend and was a part of the Coyotes’ 3-1 win against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Bourquet said he’s excited about coming back to play in front of the fans.

“The fans in Tucson, Arizona are going to be really behind us.

I think they’ll see the big picture,” he said.

Bourq’s play with the Coyotes was a positive sign for Tippetts and his coaching staff.

“He’s shown his leadership and his ability to step up and play for his team and his teammates.

He was a big part of our playoff run and he’s still a young player that has some learning to do and needs time,” Tippets said.

For now, Bourque’s time in the NHL is up, but the Coyotes will be looking for more in the draft.

The Arizona Coyotes have four picks in the second round of the NHL draft.