One of the biggest stories in the hockey world over the weekend was the abrupt end to John Chayka’s tenure with the Arizona Coyotes. After several years as general manager and president of hockey operations, which included a recent contract extension, Chayka terminated his deal and walked away from the club. The team promoted assistant GM Steve Sullivan to interim GM for the time being, but there are still plenty of questions as to why the relationship soured so quickly.
Today, some new information came out about what exactly happened and what is next for the former Coyotes executive. First of all, Craig Morgan of AZ Coyotes Insider reported that the rumors of Chayka heading to the Buffalo Sabres are “inaccurate.” Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet writes that he thinks it could be the New Jersey Devils, or at least the ownership group that also runs the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA and Crystal Palace of the English Premier League. Friedman notes that the position is “a major position in an organization that owns teams in more than one sport” but that he doesn’t know exactly what it would be.
The real story may take some time to come out, but in the meantime, Friedman also reports that he believes the offer made to Taylor Hall from Arizona ownership—the first inkling of a problem between Chayka and the rest of the organization—was five years at $7.25MM per season. With so much confusion surrounding the Coyotes now, Hall’s pending free agency has become even more interesting. The playoffs could obviously be a perfect place for the former MVP to show he deserves a lot more than that, though with a flat salary cap it may be difficult for him to find a full market.
For now, the Coyotes will have to operate without a full-time GM as they navigate the 24-team postseason. As they prepare for 2020-21, Sullivan will be given “every opportunity” to show he deserves the job.