Coyotes winger Tobias Rieder mixed up his offseason routine one summer while he was in juniors, making a change after he didn’t sense his workouts were very successful.
But when he returned for the season, he felt off – like he wasn’t as quick as he usually was.
Rieder reverted back to his previous regime and hasn’t strayed from it since.
And it’s unlikely he’ll adopt a new plan anytime soon because his training seems to be the appropriate prep for the NHL as he’s been able to score more goals each season he’s played for the Coyotes – a model trajectory for all players that isn’t easy to actually achieve.
“Everything has been working out great,” he said. “So I’m kind of afraid if I change something, it won’t anymore.”
Rieder established a career-high in goals Saturday when he noticed No.15 in a 5-4 win over the Devils, surpassing his previous record of 14 from last season. He also had 31 points and was on pace to exceed the career-best he set a year ago (37).
A handful of those points have come at a different position as Rieder has switched over from the left wing to the right, a change that certainly hasn’t slowed the 24-year-old.
“When he’s cutting to the net in the offensive zone, his ability to pull up – he finds a lot more things closer to the net on his forehand,” coach Dave Tippett explained. “When he gets on the left side, he just gets pushed outside. There’s not much happening, so it gives him another dimension when he’s in the offensive zone. There’s always concern on the wall in your own end, but he’s done a pretty good job there, too. It’s been so far so good.”
Lining up as a right winger isn’t exactly unfamiliar to Rieder, who played the spot when he was in junior with the Kitchener Rangers in the Ontario Hockey League. That’s where he honed his defensive awareness, especially on the penalty kill, which – combined with his offensive production – makes him one of the team’s more well-rounded contributors.
“He’s a smart player,” Tippett said. “He can play in all situations. Just kind of like today’s NHL player. He’s smart. He’s fast. He competes hard – all the above. So he’s had a really steady year, and the last couple weeks have been really good.”
And what seems to help equip Rieder to make this kind of impact is how he prepares in the summer.
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After returning home to Germany once the season ends and relaxing for a few days, Rieder has met up with the German national team to begin preparations for the World Championships in May.
When that tournament ends, he’ll take approximately two weeks off before starting his training for the next season in June with the bulk of his work done off skates.
“We don’t have ice during the summer in Germany,” he said.
Instead, Rieder can be found on a soccer field running springs – of various distances. He also lifts weights and mixes in cardio. His workout partner is Penguins winger Tom Kuhnhackl, who shares Rieder’s hometown in Germany, but the two don’t have a coach or trainer guiding them through these exercises.
They push each other, but Rieder is the one who holds himself accountable.
“During a workout, I can never say, ‘I’m not doing this today,’ because I would feel bad after,” he said. “I would feel really bad.”
With that type of attitude, it makes sense why he’s able to help out in so many different areas on the ice because he’s committed to doing whatever job is assigned to him to the best of his ability.
That value has made him an integral cog in the Coyotes’ operation and although the team has suffered this season, Rieder hasn’t – another step of progress in his NHL career he’s been able to recognize.
“Obviously, you want to do well with the team,” he said. “Since this year has been kind of frustrating, you still try to grow as a player and I think I’ve made a move forward this year and now it’s just trying to keep building on that.”
Coyotes at Kings
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: Staples Center.
TV/radio: Fox Sports Arizona/KMVP-FM (98.7).
Kings update: The Kings are also completing a back-to-back as they hosted the Blues Monday. Before then, Los Angeles had won three of its previous four games. The team is 4-5-2 in the second game of a back-to-back this season. Los Angeles is in the midst of a seven-game homestand and had a 19-12-1 home record before taking on the Blues. Center Jeff Carter continued to lead the team in goals (31) and points (59). Winger Jarome Iginla had two goals in four games since joining the Kings from the Avalanche before the trade deadline.