It was rumored this week that John Chayka may become the next General Manager of the Arizona Coyotes, but they were also courting Les Jackson who is the Assistant GM of the Dallas Stars.
Youth plus experience
The scenario would be that Chayka would be GM, and Jackson, 38 years Chayka's elder, would be pegged as his Assistant. Does that sound a bit strange, in that Jackson has been with the Stars for 28 years? And, Chayka has been an Assistant Coach in charge of analytics for less than one year?
CEO/President of the team, Anthony LeBlanc made it clear that the club wants to head in the direction of someone who can master the analytics of the game, and Chayka is definitely skilled in that area.
Jackson not the guy?
In any case, the Jackson to the desert possibility has died like a plant left out in the summer heat of Arizonam, not long after it was started. Bob McKenzie of TSN has stated that the Coyotes have failed to reach an agreement with Jackson, and the window of opportunity has closed.
So, where does that leave the team, who seems to want to step up the plans to make the playoffs into emergency mode now? Apparently, that was part of the split between former GM Don Maloney and Head Coach Dave Tippett. When CEO/President LeBlanc stated that Maloney had more money to spend this last season on free agents to improve the talent level, he acted very conservatively by bringing back the likes of Zbynek Michalek and Antione Vermette instead.
Differences on youth direction
Tippett also may not have approved of the way Maloney was bringing the young talent -- which the team has an abundance --along. One prime example was Dylan Strome. He was the last cut out of training camp, and Maloney sent him back to his Erie Otters OHL junior team for more seasoning. Rumor has it that Tippett disagreed. In any case, now with Maloney gone, Tippett will push hard to have him in his starting lineup this fall. Christian Dvorak may also may join him, as both of these young stars are as ready for prime time as they will be.
The time to hire another GM is starting to get thin. The lottery numbers for placement in the NHL Entry Draft in last June is happening tonight (4-30-16) at 8pm ET.
Wouldn't Auston Matthews look great in a Coyotes' uniform?
The Arizona Coyotes have a 6.5% chance of getting the first pick, and stranger things have happened... like the Edmonton Oilers winning it last year.
The need for a GM to be in place before the Draft takes place is essential. Tippett will be given more responsibilities and say so with player movement/signings, and he needs someone who can complement him as a GM. Jackson sure seemed to fit the bill, but for whatever reason that is not likely to happen.
If Chayka does get the nod, he will not only be the youngest NHL GM, he will perhaps lead the pack of future GM's who have the analytics skills to evaluate player's performance and worth.
If that results in the team getting to a playoff berth, we can all stop making jokes about Chayka's youth, and lack of experience. Results are all that matters. And, right now the Arizona Coyotes need desperately to get back on track and be a more successful hockey club.
The big question remains... will the person who can help in that endeavor be John Chayka?
Time will tell. It usually does.