John Chayka Checks Out on Coyotes Before Reboot

Okay, so this Arizona Coyotes thing is just as Arizona Coyotes as it gets, right??

John Chayka quits the team days before the playoffs, this after another team requested to talk with him about a job and after owner Alex Meruelo and his team took over contract discussions with Taylor Hall. Seeing the writing possibly on the wall, Chayka bails and now the team is going to the league to see what they can do with his contract.

It’s hard to believe that Meruelo was said to be a fan of Chayka and his style, which lead to Chayka having his contract extended. Then Chayka goes and does this because the ownership group started to micro-manage talks with a pending free agent; which has to be an odd situation considering the Coyotes are almost at the cap limit as it is with Hall’s contract going to bring in much more that the $6M he’s getting now.

Obviously, Chayka is going to be blamed for the money issues– he is the GM afterall. But wouldn’t he have to get clearance from Meruelo or previous owner Andrew Barroway to even get the money for those moves??

When Chayka came in, he was the wunderkind of this new movement toward analytics some NHL teams were making. At just 26, Chayka came from an analytics company called Stathletes founded by himself and his sister Meghan. However, for Chayka; the only playoff appearance a team under his watch has seen is this one with the expanded playoff format, as they were fifth in the Pacific prior to the pause.

Are the Coyotes jackasses for undercutting the job of their GM in contract talks?? Sure, especially when he’s not present to get a write-off dinner out of it. Is Chayka a quitter and may have screwed his team over with the contract given?? Well, the numbers don’t really lie.

Is it a shocking surprise that it’s Arizona having to deal with this?? Kind of, especially when they looked to be going in the right direction for long-term growth. It’s almost a shame that it’s going down like this and playing out as chaotically as it is prior to the NHL Reboot. But so it goes with the Coyotes.

Hall and ‘Yotes

NEWARK, NJ – DECEMBER 06: New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) during the second period of the National Hockey League game between the New Jersey Devils nd the Chicago Blackhawks on December 6, 2019 at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

We all knew Taylor Hall was going to be traded this year, we didn’t know it’d be to Arizona of all places. Not only that, but the Devils didn’t get too much to help them in the short-term and some people thinking Ray Shero got a little fleeced in this one.

But in all honesty, the match could be a great fit overall. The Coyotes needed someone like Hall in their line-up to be an offense creator. The Coyotes are 24th in the NHL in goals-for and while their power-play is in the top-10, you can’t go wrong getting a former MVP onto the roster. More over, this is a move that could help spark Phil Kessel’s output, which has been lacking a little due to no playmakers being up to the Kessel caliber of play. The Coyotes are surprising enough this season being third in the west and getting solid performances from Darcy Kuemper in net and Conor Garland being their offensive dynamo; but adding Hall just ups the value of this team– especially at this point in the season where there’s still time for Hall to adjust to Rick Tocchet’s style in Arizona.

Yet, looking at the Devils…this was not a great deal. You know they had to move Hall to get something for the future; but you’d also like to get something for today, too. Not many people think the return will be much of anything outside of the draft picks, but you never know how the picks and players will turn out. This move really doesn’t address the bigger issue of the Devils, which is their goaltending. Sure, MacKenzie Blackwood has been better than some of the options the Devils have, but that doesn’t say much overall.

This does, however, open the way for the younger Devils to really show their muster. Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes are now the face of the team more than ever, while the older crew up front in Wayne Simmonds, Kyle Palmieri, and Blake Coleman are going to have to be offensive mentors to these talented players. But wouldn’t you have liked to have Hall be with these former top picks and guide them through the peaks and valleys through his first-hand experiences??

There will be instant results in Arizona because they have a known commodity in Taylor Hall; they got a piece that could be the big thing missing not only for their team, but for their other acquired star player, and they are making a push to be a desirable spot outside of the climate to be. For New Jersey– it’ll take some years, if it ever happens for them when it comes to the results of this deal. But they’ll always have that one year, they’ll always have 2017-18.