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Tikhonov thrilled to return to Coyotes

Alexander Demianchuk / REUTERS

The Arizona Coyotes tried, but in the end failed to re-sign Viktor Tikhonov this summer. So it wasn't a shocker to learn that they claimed him off waivers from the Chicago Blackhawks over the weekend.

What might be more of a surprise is that he even left in the first place.

Tikhonov, who the Coyotes invested a first-round pick in back in 2008, spoke favorably about his return to the franchise Monday.

"When I heard Arizona picked me up it was all joy. It's going to be a good transition ... I was all smiles when I heard," he told the Coyotes' website.

"Long term, I want to stay in the (NHL), and if it's with Arizona that's even better," he added. "That would just be icing on the cake."

Tikhonov scored eight goals and 16 points in his rookie season with the then-Phoenix Coyotes. He returned to Russia for four seasons from 2011-15 after finding himself riding the bus in the American Hockey League.

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