This week Puck Daddy’s Josh Cooper wrote an interesting profile on the NHL’s youngest general manager. The Coyote’s GM John Chayka is not only the youngest in the league, but by 16 years. According to Cooper’s article, not many consider Chayka young.
He’s certainly mature beyond the number of his age for sure and I think he has been that way his whole life. I think he’s very methodical and well-spoken. Just a mature guy. -Dave Tippett, Coyotes Head Coach
At the age of 27, Arizona’s GM has made some head-scratching moves to the greater benefit of the franchise. Chayka used cap space to his advantage in order to add two highly-skilled prospects.
Like anything, I think most of it is out of necessity. We have a market situation that is what it is in terms of our revenue and my job is just to optimize and maximize what I can do with that revenue,” -John Chayka, Coyotes GM
Intelligence, adjustments, and creativity are great for cap management but will it translate on the ice? Chayka knows he has to make the playoffs to be considered successful. It’s been a tough first year, but some of his rookie moves could become the next trend. George McPhee doesn’t need any help, especially from a 27 year-old, but the league is rapidly changing every year. There maybe only one GM under 40, but his vision could be best for the modern player.
Let’s face it, the Golden Knights will have one of the leagues worst travel schedule. The Coyotes are blessed with the fourth most tiring itinerary. Arizona will travel 47,869 miles this season and will play 13 back-to-backs. Vegas will be in the air for roughly 45,000+ miles in 2017-2018. Expect up to 10+ back-to-backs. It’ll be brutal.
I grew up the son of a Bruins fan and understood the Boston/Montreal rivalry, but as a kid I began to appreciate the Canadiens on a family summer trip to Nova Scotia. Their logo, history, players, I loved it all. I got gruff from friends when I returned home wearing a Montreal shirt.
The Canadiens-Bruins rivalry goes back a long ways. So of course kids are told to hate one or the other. Same goes for the Blackhawks and Blues, Penguins and Capital, or the Sharks and Kings. Teams hating one another on the ice are how organic rivalries begin in the stands. They are not crafted by execs on Madison Avenue.
At some point next season, Vegas will play divisional games on NBC Sport’s Wednesday Night Rivalries. It’ll get a big laugh on social media. The NHL will try and manufacture a rival for the Golden Knights, so they can fit in with everyone else. But the problem is that it’ll be fake. The Pacific heavyweights already have natural rivals, and they aren’t worried about the new kids on the block who they expect to be the whipping boy for at least a few years. Possibly over time, if the Golden Knights beat them enough, Anaheim, LA and San Jose will feel differently, but in the short term, a California/Nevada rivalry is pie in the sky. Geographically, Western Canada doesn’t make sense, and even if it did, the Canucks, Flames, and Oilers are too fed up with themselves to spend any time hating us.
So that leaves the Arizona Coyotes. Which is the obvious choice. Next season the Coyotes should be closest in talent with Vegas. The Knights will lack some of the young, developed talent, but veteran play should be close to equal between the two clubs. With that in mind, games against Arizona could be tight. In close divisional games, players tend to get angry. At times, season series can turn into a penalty-plagued, postseason environments. Cross-checks, elbows, fights, the whole nine. Once the players hate one another it changes everything for the fans. Rivalries need to be organic and all the pieces are there for it to happen with Arizona.
So hope for brawl lines, instigating minors and fighting majors when the Coyotes and Golden Knights match up. That’s what’s going to create the rivalry. Not some mildly-well produced Wednesday Night TV commercials. We as fans need to see the hatred, and feel the connection to our players. Only then, can will we truly hate another team.
Great, now Vegas will be forced to sign John Scott.
The acquisitions of Dave Bolland and Pavel Datsyuk by the Coyotes are being viewed by many as “using the cap as an asset.” Because Arizona was so far below the salary cap floor, they were forced to take on a few contracts to get them to the number. Sound familiar?
In the Expansion Draft in June, Las Vegas will select 30 players, 20 of which must be under contract in 17-18. Vegas must reach 60% of the prior season’s salary cap, and they cannot buy out a contract until the conclusion of their first season.
Just like the John Chayka with the Coyotes, George McPhee has a major asset in his need to take on salary. Many around hockey circles have projected that other teams around the NHL will expose their brutal contracts and Vegas will be forced to take them on to stay within the rules.
This may but true, but if you look at what Chayka was able to do in Arizona, Las Vegas has a great opportunity to utilize these requirements to acquire something in return. Arizona picked up two young players (Lawson Crouse and Jakob Chychrun) they expect to be integral parts of their future by taking on Bolland and Datsyuk. McPhee should have a chance to chance to do the same… and maybe even better.
We’re only a week and half away from the big announcement. I won’t get into to potential names, but the GM should fit the owner, the coach should fit the owner, and the team should fit the owner. The Creator would be best to hire a coach and GM with the style of hockey he likes best. I’m not saying Foley will be Jerry Jones, but he’ll certainly have an influence on the franchise’s firsts.
The GM will try and match the style of hockey The Creator wants, but also compete in the Western Conference. Specifically, the Pacific Division. It’ll be a tough balance. According to Francois Gagnon, the Knights (or whatever they call em) will be playing in the Pacific division. The LA Kings have led the charge in the Pacific for the past five years. Looking ahead, it doesn’t look like that will change any time soon. Sure the Sharks are in the Finals, and the Ducks seem to win the division every year but LA still rules West Coast. Jonathan Quick is locked up until 2023, Drew Doughty through 2019, Anze Kopitar just signed an eight year deal, and Jeff Carter‘s contract is up in 2022. LA’s core is intact. (Shoutout to Mass’s Cathedral High School alum Dean Lombardi for crafting a Cup winning team) The Kings groomed a Norris trophy defenseman, a Conn Smyth wining goalie, and a Selke finalist. They may be a little deflated after this year’s postseason but LA won’t be down for long.
One of our goals here at SinBin.vegas is to be the voice of the valley when it comes to the NHL. In trying to do so we often have the opportunity to interact with some incredible people (and excellent writers) who are equally as passionate about hockey in Las Vegas as we are. Therefore, we wanted to give you, our readers, the opportunity to let your voice be heard via guest posts to the site.
Las Vegas is getting a hockey team, just not how you think we are.
We all know Las Vegas is very likely getting an NHL team in the near future to play at the new T-Mobile Arena on the Strip. Bill Foley has got the money and desire to bring the NHL to Vegas and it looks like it’s happening soon.
But what if the team we’re all excited to watch is already playing? Down Highway 93 is the Arizona Coyotes, the constantly rumored relocation candidate. Every time a city or potential owner shows interest in purchasing an NHL team it’s going to be the Coyotes that gets relocated. It’s not a secret the Coyotes haven’t done well in the Valley of the Sun. Through poor ownership, bankruptcy, terrible on ice performances, etc. the Coyotes have always had a good base of support in the Phoenix Metro area. However, it’s never really been enough to financially support the team and keep the red ink off the Coyotes’ balance sheet.
So how about that Pacific Division? Talk about coming down to the wire. Tomorrow the Kings will host the Ducks for the division. Both tied at 99 points, the NHL couldn’t have scripted it any better. Both teams are desperate to win the Pacific, because each would rather play Nashville over San Jose. Playing a divisional foe in the first round is always a challenge. Remember two years ago, the Kings on the brink of elimination, won four straight against the Sharks. Then beat the Ducks in seven on their way to their second Cup. It doesn’t matter what division, playing a rival isn’t ideal. The Ducks, Kings and Sharks are all capable of succeeding in the playoffs. All three organizations know that their first round matchup might be the toughest.
Obviously, we know how good the top Pacific teams are but what about the lower tier. How good can the Flames, Canucks, Oilers and Coyotes be? Sure we see young skilled talent in Calgary, Edmonton and Arizona but will they compete? That’s a question The Creator should ask as well. Can the bottom four rosters ever win in a top heavy division? I don’t think so. John Gaudreau is an amazing talent, but who protects him? And I’m not talking about Marty McSorley, goon protection crap. I’m talking about giving Johnny space on the ice to use his speed, and skill. There’s a rumor Milan Lucic may be interested in Calgary. He’d be the perfect line mate for Gaudreau. Lucic can score, and he scare the bleep out of opposing players. The power forward would automatically make Calgary more physical. Something they’re not known for. Same goes for Edmonton. Connor McDavid may take over the league, but he’s gonna need help. Issues The Creator might have when he drafts a top three pick. You need to protect your assets Bill.
When Las Vegas drops the puck in 2017 (assuming an announcement comes “some time in June”), the rest of the Pacific Division will be licking their chops. Established teams will be looking to pad points against the new team. That’s a normal process that any expansion team goes through. Call it growing pains. How can Creator and Co. prevent this? Well, let’s be honest it’s gonna be tough. Top NHL teams have a hard time figuring out Jonathan Quick, a roster of unprotected players probably won’t do any better. It’ll also be tough keeping Scorey Perry, and Jumbo Joe off the score board.
Maybe there is a way Las Vegas could be competitive. The Creator’s staff should design a roster strictly built for the Pacific Division. That means defense, size and physicality. Chances are the starting goaltender won’t be a top ten goaltender, so he’ll need help. Building a blue line with experience and size can help Las Vegas stay competitive. Top Centers Ryan Getzlaf, and Anze Kopitar take over games offensively, a strong backend can keep the score close. I know he’s not popular, but a guy like Dennis Wideman could be unprotected and fit well in Las Vegas. A Defenseman that could be unprotected and would be a dream come true for Las Vegas is the Duck’s Simon Despres. The 6’4, 24 year-old blueliner might be a victim of Anaheims crowded backend. The Ducks will be upset letting Despres go and could be part of the Las Vegas’ first pairing. Who knows maybe Shea Weber could be available. Size and defense.
I could do this all day, Dustin Brown, Jakob Silfverberg, maybe even Rick Nash could be left unprotected. All three forwards would fit perfectly. Silfverberg is part of the most effective checking line in hockey. Nash could provide offense, and size. Brown, well, you know how I feel about him. It’s not about the score sheet for Dusty. At average NHL size, the Kings Captain plays with more physicality than anyone in the league. He leads the box score in hits annually, and is a two-time Cup winning Captain. He’s a pretty good leader. The Creator, fans, and the league want Las Vegas to compete right away. Building around the division is one way to achieve that goal.
Logic has always been that Quebecor, the company behind the efforts to bring the National Hockey League back to Quebec, would be better off being the landing spot for a current franchise in need of a new home.
The league has no interest in leaving the Phoenix market no matter how many columns guaranteed the Coyotes were Vegas bound last Summer. They may move out of Glendale eventually but the moving vans are not headed to Vegas, they will probably head to downtown Phoenix where the team belongsThe Panthers are staying in Surprise, Florida until at least 2023 thanks to a Broward County $86 million financial package.
Owner Peter Karmanos has talked about how stupid it would be to leave with ten years on their lease which really just runs through 2024. He receives 100% of all parking and concessions for all non-North Carolina State events and a discount on utilities. The reality is that no matter how good of a deal Karmanos has he needs to either fill his arena or sell the team which he has been trying to do for some time.
Speculation has been Quebec City may be a better place to move a team rather than be home to an expansion team. With just the one team left that might have move, the path is completely clear for the NHL to feel comfortable expanding their league and opening up shop in Las Vegas.