Coyotes GM Maloney plans to reach out to WHC leading scorer Viktor Tikhonov about NHL return

Thomas Drance
Scott Rovak / USA TODAY Sports

SKA St. Petersburg forward Viktor Tikhonov, a former 1st-round draft pick of the Phoenix Coyotes, is currently competing for Team Russia at the IIHF World Championships in Belarus; and he's lighting it up. 

The skilled forward, who is named after his grandfather - the legendary Russian hockey coach of the same name - leads the tournament in scoring with 7 goals and 14 points in just 7 games played.

Tikhonov's former NHL bench boss Dave Tippett is currently in Belarus as well, coaching Team Canada. Presumably the Phoenix Coyotes head coach has had ample opportunity to watch Tikhonov play, and presumably he's been impressed with what he's seen. 

That Tippett has been impressed, and has relayed his thoughts about Tikhonov's quality to Coyotes management, certainly seems more likely than this just being a coincidence:

Tikhonov spent four years in the Coyotes organization, playing 61 games in the NHL and 82 with the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL. The 26-year-old Tikhonov didn't exactly dominate in his first go-around in North American professional hockey, but he's been a productive second-line presence in the KHL over the past three seasons.