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.