Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Learning From A 27 Year Old

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.

Guaranteed with a bottom ten travel schedule Vegas will have another thing working against them next season. Adopting Chayka’s analytical methods could aid the Golden Knights play on the road. As Cooper notes in the article, the Coyotes will sometimes spend the night in the same city after a game. Bypassing the traditional route of traveling to the next stop late after a game. The young GM believes it can help a player’s rebound ability.

We make a lot of decisions based off of practice load, days off and things like that based off the information we received from that type of a test. We also measure their load in practices and monitor that with each player, so it’s important for our young players to understand their bodies and try to minimize and mitigate risk opportunities. -John Chayka, Coyote’s GM

Chayka and his staff are tracking players health and heart-rates over the season in order to maximize his players ability. Combating their travel schedule with rest is the organizations challenge. Vegas could bump into the same jet lag problems and it could effect the scoreboard. Keep in mind, only a handful of players on next year’s roster will have come from a Pacific time zone city. Unique ways of getting the team rest could impact season results. Whatever works for Vegas to win more games is the key.

Long trips occur for every team in the league. It’s just a matter of how McPhee and the coaching staff handle tired, sluggish players. Really, Vegas just needs to win on the road occasionally. We already know they’ll have a great home record with all the distractions for incoming teams. Clubs, booze, sexy Pai-Gow dealers and puck bunnies could be the Golden Knights best defense… or so they say.


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  1. pfh64

    LV being in the league will cut the travel for all of the Pacific teams.

  2. Jason Pothier

    Not really the point, and it’ll be reduced by two thousand miles… 47,000 to 45,000. That’s not making a huge difference. West coast teams will always have to travel more.

  3. Phisig150

    I’m on board with the analytics revolution to a point. Analytics seem to get teams into the playoffs but I haven’t seen them deliver a championship on their own yet. I do love Hinkie’s asset procurement (tanking). You still seem to need a superstar or two no matter how good your excel skills are though. I don’t have the exact numbers in front of me but I’m betting there’s a fairly high failure rate for GMs under 30. Theo Epsteins don’t grow on trees .The Dodgers had a hot shot young gun a decade or so ago and it worked out so great he’s employed by the Clevelnad Browns now. I like to see a mix of the old school and money puck with a heavy dash of Hinkie on Ice. Land a Lebron/Crosby type talent and suddenly everyone starts to look a whole lot smarter. Got to build up the draft arsenal and pray to the hockey gods to shine upon us. A kick ass execel spreadsheet wouldn’t hurt either

    • RJ

      So I want to know why you love Hinkie’s process so much? Are you just a huge Knicks fan?

      Hinkie certainly knew how to put together a team to lose basketball games, but what results do the 76ers have for those losses? Jahil Okafor? A can’t miss draft pick turned into a player no one wanted at the trade deadline. Joel “Oden 2.0” Embiid? Sure they are 9 game out of a playoff spot, but at least they are better than the Nets, is that the end result of the process?

      • Phisig150

        Hinkie never got to finish his masterpiece so we’ll never truly know how it would have all ended up. Okafor and Embiid show exactly why the draft is such a crapshoot and you need as many rolls as possible. They still have a top pick this year. A high Lakers pick coming this year or next. And Simmons. It’s a damn shame he never got to see his vision all the way through. The future is still bright even with the Colangelos mucking it all up. Or you could be those Nets who traded their future away for Pierce and Garnet and Joe Johnson but hey they made the playoffs I think a couple of times. Not too shabby.

  4. Jason Pothier

    Yeah I agree, a franchise’s fortunes all lands on drafting a superstar. Even then it’s not guaranteed. Look at Tampa and their cap situation. They’ve already come out and told their fans it’s not going to be the same team, due to cap concerns. And they’ve drafted brilliantly over the past ten years but have nothing to show for it.

    On the analytics angle, i don’t expect it to be used much but keeping players fresh is a huge aspect to a teams success. Some travel schedules are so tiring on certain teams, if that’s the case they should alter the normal travel routine. Chayka just looks at it alittle differently and seems to connect well with the players. Who are basically the same generation. Testing their overall health throughout the season. They can examine if it was the long travel or the back to backs, etc. That’s the edge I’d like Vegas to adopt. It could take a few years but hopefully the roster will turn into all millennials like the Leafs and we’ll have a serious team on our hands in 5-7 years.

    • cody

      Tampa needed to trade Stammer and keep the rest of their guys…Bishop, Kuch, Killorn etc. Big mistake pouring all their money into a guy who can’t stay in the lineup and doesn’t show up in the playoffs.

  5. cody

    Tippett has to say that about Junior. He is in over his head and this experiment is embarrassing. Hockey is not just stats. It’s toughness, bravery, timing. None of that is measured by analytics. Chayka is a one trick pony. What’s next, a 16yo GM?

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