Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka joined Jeff Blair on Sportsnet 590 yesterday to talk about his coaching hires and the big trade from yesterday. The 27-year old hired three coaches including the NHL’s first full-time female coach, and dealt two draft picks for Dave Bolland and Lawson Crouse.
On why he decided to make the deal:
It’s about Lawson Crouse. It’s about a guy who we think is a rare asset. Usually when you acquire a power forward like this you’re giving up something in terms of speed or skill. We think that not only is he speedy and skilled, he’s going to enhance that for our group as well.
Usually these guys (power forwards) when they’re at the caliber Lawson is, they’re hard to find. Usually they don’t become available until they’re in their thirties. At that point you’re paying a premium for a guy who is not on the right side of his career, and we didn’t want to do that.
On projecting the future of power forwards:
Typically they take more time and any time a player takes more time, their risk increases. That’s where I think Lawson being the player he is, was drafted high and could have been drafted even higher. Usually a player’s feet have to catch up to them or their hands have to improve…for a big guy he (Lawson) is impressive in those areas.
On the recent addition of Dawn Braid, their new full-time skating coach:
It came down to the quality of the person. Dawn has consulted for a lot of NHL teams and had a lot of success. She’s someone that has gotten results from every player she’s worked with, and they’ve got a ton of respect for her.
She’s got a real good knowledge for the game that I think is fairly rare for skating coaches sometimes. She understands the strengths and weaknesses and how they apply to a player’s game…I use her on the management side of things to try and break down a player’s stride, and understand – ’Yeah it’s an amateur player, what’s the improvement potential of their stride.’ If it’s a pro player, Luke Schenn for instance, she’d take a look and give her honest feedback of how much she can help a player like that.
Indeed, Braid has worked with players all over the league and Schenn is a good example of the kind of player she could really help. Schenn has been derided for his skating ability since he entered the league as an 18-year old, eventually having to sign a two-year, $2.5MM contract to try and rebuild some value this summer. It sounds like even though she’s considered a skating coach, her experience is being used as sort of a scout as well, profiling players before they even enter the organization.
The Coyotes have a cupboard stocked with prospects that are ready to start making an impact at the NHL level, and are taking every shred of advantage from the top down to put them in the best position for success.