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Hayton to begin season with Coyotes

Tom Pennington / Getty Images Sport / Getty

One surprise deserves another.

After the Arizona Coyotes made an off-the-board pick in this summer's draft by selecting Barrett Hayton fifth overall, the young center will begin the upcoming season in the NHL.

"Everything we thought and expected (about Hayton) has come true," Coyotes general manager John Chayka told theScore's John Matisz. "He's one of those guys who you think will keep getting better and better every single day. He does a lot of good things, makes his teammates better, and came into camp and did a nice job. He's going to start off on our opening day roster and we're just going to take it day by day here."

Many pundits projected the Desert Dogs selecting a prospect like Filip Zadina or Quinn Hughes during the 2018 draft. However, the franchise felt Hayton checked many of its boxes, as Chayka told The Athletic's Craig Morgan following the selection.

"He's a premium person, (a) premium player, playing a premium position," Chayka said. "He's a foundational piece for us. We think he's a complete 200-foot center."

Hayton was held scoreless in two preseason appearances. He could see some regular-season ice time with fellow centers Christian Dvorak and Alex Galchenyuk both sidelined to start the season.

Arizona could choose to give the 18-year-old a nine-game trial before sending him to the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. A longer stint, however, would burn the first year of his entry-level contract.

Hayton recorded 60 points in 63 games with the Greyhounds in 2017-18.

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