Yesterday, Arizona Coyotes general manager John Chayka abruptly stepped down from his position with the team as the Coyotes were preparing for their Stanley Cup Playoff Qualifying Round against the Nashville Predators.
It got so bad, the Coyotes issued a strongly worded press release saying that Chayka “quit” on the club as they were getting ready to take a step and compete for the Stanley Cup.
Now it seems that the Devils may be at the center of all of the chaos.
In an article today by Mike Rosenstein of NJ.com, it was reported via ESPN that “according to Sportnet [sic], the relationship between Chayka and the Coyotes became fractured when he sought a new opportunity outside the organization and then the team “resisted.” According to a source, that opportunity may no longer be available to him.”
Rosenstein then said that Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet is now saying that that “new opportunity” just might have been in the New Jersey Devils organization.
More specifically with Harris and Blitzer Sports and Entertainment, the parent company that owns the Devils as well as the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and Crystal Palace of the English Premier League. The group is also “serious bidders for the New York Mets.”
Friedman said that the job was a “major position at an organization that owns teams in more than one sport. The leader in the clubhouse is New Jersey.” He continued that his “theory is that this is some kind of analytics/sports science/leadership position across some or all of those (potential) platforms.” Friedman finished by saying “I’d be lying if I claimed I knew the exact role.”
Rosenstein pointed out that Chayka was in charge as Arizona GM when the Coyotes traded for Taylor Hall. Rosenstein cites AZcentral.com as saying that Chayka “wasn’t involved in contract talks” with Hall.
AZcentral.com says “Coyotes General Manager John Chayka, who signed a contract extension last November, is no longer leading negotiations to re-sign forward Taylor Hall, according to an NHL source with direct knowledge of the situation. The source also confirmed reports that Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo, his son Alex Jr., and team president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez had a dinner meeting last week with Hall …At the meeting the Coyotes made Hall a “low-ball” offer, according to the source. “John wasn’t at the meeting, he wasn’t the one who set it up and he wasn’t the one making the offer,” the source said.”
Rosenstein says that Friedman thinks “the Coyotes’ offer to Taylor Hall was five years, $7.25-million AAV. That’s not a final offer from what [he] can tell, and we’ll see if they become more aggressive.”
One of the draft picks the Devils received in the Hall deal is contingent on the Coyotes winning a playoff round and Hall re-signing with Arizona. The Devils would receive a first round pick this year from Arizona should both those conditions be met. Otherwise, it would default to next year.
Former Devils player Steve Sullivan, the Coyotes’ assistant general manager, will take over on an interim basis for them.