Arizona Coyotes: John Chayka Brings Change, But Not Immediate Fix


The Arizona Coyotes have found their new general manager in John Chayka. But just because the name on the door has changed, doesn’t mean that the results will also change as quickly.

The Arizona Coyotes found their man in analytics guru John Chayka.

He’s stepping up to the podium today as the new face of team and the architect who will guide the franchise over the next several years.

The key part of that phrase is over the next several years.

“We’ll see how he does” in this scenario means in two or three years, not halfway through next season. It means we’ll take stock of how much progress this very young (with some very old pieces) team has made in the long term, not the short term.

The Arizona Coyotes aren’t just trying to make the playoffs next year. This hiring was made so that in two or three years they are making the playoffs and contending every year.

Chayka is stepping into the pole position of a team with a bevy of highly touted prospects and some youngsters already succeeding in the NHL.

He’s also taking over a team with a goaltending situation that is hot and cold at best, and considered much worse than that by many observers. It’s a franchise that has a defensive corps that stops pucks from pummeling said goaltenders like Blackhawks fans can stop asking other fans how many Cups they have. Can’t do it.

There’s still a lot of rebuilding that needs to happen under Mr. Chayka’s watch and the playoffs next season are not a guarantee.

Dylan Strome, and to a lesser extent Christian Dvorak, look to make some of these growing pains a little easier but there are a great many pieces that need to be acquired to complete the puzzle, however.

Chayka will need to lock up Louis Domingue as Mike Smith‘s backup this summer unless he plans on making a surprise splash for a James Reimer or someone similar. He also needs to scour the trade market and free agency for a viable right-handed top four defenseman. Acquiring Kevin Shattenkirk would be a great start, though that move seems unlikely.

With the holes on the back end glaring back at him, John Chayka does have a few tools at his disposal that could quickly make him the hero or the villain in the desert depending on how those tools are put to use.

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The Arizona Coyotes have a plethora of forward prospects and there’s no reasonable way for the team to properly utilize. Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, Dylan Strome, and Christian Dvorak should be off limits, but anyone from Brendan Perlini to QMJHL superstar Conor Garland should be utilized by the new general manager to acquire above average to high-end talent to fill the team’s holes.

He also possesses the tools that got him the job. His brains and his analytical background.

Buying low and selling high – moneypuck, if you will – is one way a team in a non-traditional market can out value their opponents.

The Arizona Coyotes may not be able to sway the Steven Stamkos’ of the world to come to the desert, but if he can find undervalued players that drive play and put up some points to compliment the youth movement this team will be a few steps ahead of where it’s been for many years.

It won’t happen overnight. It might cost beloved players or hyped prospects. That said, it was time for a new approach because the old way hasn’t worked for some time.

Next: Max Domi Snubbed By Calder Trophy Voters

The Arizona Coyotes ownership is making bold moves. Perhaps they’ll pay off, perhaps not.

Whatever happens, the hiring of John Chayka is the surest sign yet that IceArizona is all-in.