Can a whip-smart millennial really be GM of the Arizona Coyotes? (updated)

Ryan Kennedy
John Chayka, with Dave Tippett on his left  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Conventional wisdom sticks…until it doesn’t. The Blues could never beat the Blackhawks in the playoffs, nor could the Sharks beat the Kings…but this year they did. The Arizona Coyotes named 26-year-old John Chayka as the franchise’s new GM today. Chayka is an analytics man who quickly found favor with Coyotes ownership and now he’s getting the keys to the hockey department.

For real?

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Future Watch: Dylan Strome is primed to become the No. 1 center Arizona desperately needs

Dylan Strome. (Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

The Strome family has a tradition. Three sons have been drafted into the OHL over the years, and a couple nights before each one has left home, the family has thrown a big party featuring all their relatives. The son who was leaving would give a speech, and things would get misty. OK, fine. There were full-on waterworks. Ryan is the eldest and currently a member of the New York Islanders. Matthew is the youngest and just gave his speech last summer before departing the family home in Mississauga for Hamilton. And in the middle is Dylan, an Arizona Coyotes draft pick who has been tearing up the OHL as a member of the high-flying Erie Otters for nearly three seasons. “We thank everyone for the help and generosity they’ve given us,” Dylan said.

“They’ve followed us for so many years of our lives, and they know we’re going off to do what we love to do. For them to help us out so much, you get emotional when you talk about it. I was crying, Matt was crying, Ryan cried. I cried when Ryan said it, I cried when Matt said it. My parents were both crying. It’s OK to show emotion in our family.”

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Sorry haters, but hockey in Arizona is continuing to grow

Ryan Kennedy
Arizona's Anthony Duclair and Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

Stories about Arizona’s arena saga are rarely fun to read. The latest development in Glendale has AEG Facilities taking over as managers of Gila River Arena. The company is an offshoot of the firm that owns the Los Angeles Kings and has vast experience in arena management. As always, hope is high in some corners and not so high in others. But guess what? This is a minor development in a state on the rise in the hockey world.

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Springfield: It’s a hell of a town, but not for the American League

Ken Campbell
Falcons' leading scorer Craig Cunningham (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

It’s almost as though it’s out of Slap Shot, a last-place minor pro team in the northeast plays out the season amid news the team will be sold to new owners in the sunbelt. Except there are no Hanson Brothers and no Federal League championship for one of the most iconic cities in the history of the American League. It could, however, face the same fate as the fictional Charlestown Chiefs.

It’s hard to believe that Springfield, Mass., could be without an AHL presence for the first time in 60 years and that one of the charter members of the league could be out of the loop starting next season. But that has come one step closer to reality with the news that the Arizona Coyotes, a team that couldn’t even support itself a couple of years ago, now ‘hones’ the Springfield Falcons, with plans to move the team to Tucson as early as 2016-17. The Coyotes announced Tuesday they had signed a purchase agreement with Falcons owner Charlie Pompea and hope to move into the Tucson Convention Center next season.

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In the NHL, even the good guys have the same ‘win or get lost’ pressures

Mike Brophy
Coyotes president and CEO Anthony Leblanc (right) and Don Maloney  (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

Don Maloney is a good man who, by all accounts, did a very good job as general manager of the Arizona Coyotes.

But his team didn’t win so he lost his job.

That’s the way it is in pro sports — win or get lost.

So even though Maloney has nicely pieced together a team that is on the cusp of being a playoff contender in the Western Conference, he was sent packing after nine years on that job. That’s what happens when your team misses the playoffs for four years in a row.

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Rumor Roundup: Canadiens not trying to trade Subban, but he’s not untouchable

P.K. Subban. (Getty Images)

Monday was locker clean-out day for the 14 NHL teams that failed to qualify for the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs. It was also time for some general managers and players to field questions from the media regarding their off-season plans.

Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin attempted to squelch recent trade rumors about defenseman P.K. Subban. The Montreal Gazette’s Pat Hickey reports Bergevin said he’s not shopping the 26-year-old superstar or other core players such as goaltender Carey Price and left winger Max Pacioretty.

Bergevin, however, didn’t state that Subban is untouchable. With the blueliner’s no-trade clause kicking in on July 1, his name could resurface in the trade rumor mill by late-June. TSN analysts Darren Dreger and Jamie McLennan suggest Bergevin is merely keeping his options open. While acknowledging he could listen to offers, both doubt that Subban’s going anywhere this summer.

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GM Don Maloney lost front-office power struggle in Arizona

Ken Campbell
Coyotes president and CEO Anthony Leblanc (right) and Don Maloney  (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

Now that Don Maloney has been ousted after laying an enormous amount of groundwork for the future success of the Arizona Coyotes, someone else will now come in and get most of the credit. And make no mistake, Maloney’s firing will signal an about-face in how the Coyotes run their hockey department.

Under Maloney, the Coyotes did things the right way, building up a stable of draft picks and prospects with terrific drafting and trading of veterans. But now, essentially because coach Dave Tippett won the power struggle that cost Maloney his job, the mandate will be to win immediately. “Now, they’re going to do it the stupid way,” said one NHL executive.

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Coyotes’ Vermette booted after hitting Blackhawks’ Anisimov from behind

Jared Clinton
Antoine Vermette hits Artem Anisimov (via Streamable)

The Blackhawks entered Tuesday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes without the services of Andrew Shaw and Marian Hossa, and there’s a chance Chicago will be without Artem Anisimov going forward, as well.

Anisimov, 27, was forced to leave midway through the contest after he was hit from behind by Coyotes center Antoine Vermette, who at this time last year was suiting up for the Blackhawks. Following a line change, Anisimov was chasing a loose puck into the Coyotes’ zone with Vermette giving chase. Anisimov pulled up and turned back towards the boards in an attempt to shake Vermette, but the Arizona pivot got a piece of Anisimov and sent him crashing headfirst into the boards: Read more