Ramblings: Update on Pastrnak; Pacioretty; John Chayka gone from Arizona; Taylor Hall – July 28

Michael Clifford

2020-07-28

The big news over the weekend was that John Chayka, the GM for Arizona, was leaving the team. The Coyotes put out a press release statement saying he quit the team. What actually happened, we don't know. What I do know is that taking team statements at face value is not advised.

I was a fan of a lot of moves that Chayka made. The first was trading up and acquiring the Pavel Datsyuk contract in 2016 so they could grab Jakob Chychrun 16th overall. The Stepan/Raanta trade was also a good one, I think. Tony DeAngelo has worked out well for the Rangers, but Raanta is an elite goalie when he's healthy. Having that security in net, along with Darcy Kuemper, has been huge, even if Stepan's play has fallen off. (The Rangers also got a seventh overall pick that they used on Lias Andersson.) I was also a big fan of getting Nick Schmaltz for Dylan Strome. That was a very tidy bit of business.

I was less a fan of his contracts. There was no need to sign Keller for north of $7M a season when he has one good year to his name. Signing Schmaltz and Dvorak for over $10M a season combined wasn't great, either. They're contracts where you look at them and think, "eh, they're fine." They're not great value, but they're not great albatrosses. They're also not great players.

At the end, not having great players was Chayka's problem. The drafting wasn't great. Bad teams need superstars to get over the hump, and this team lacks superstars. That was probably the reason for the Hall trade (other than a playoff run), but it speaks to the larger issue. They had to trade for a winger in his late 20s because they haven't been able to draft and develop a star forward. Not yet, anyway, and let alone three or four of them like Toronto, Colorado, or Tampa Bay. Teams can't rely on a roster of middle-of-the-roster players to be a perennial contender.

There are very good pieces here, they just need to re-tool the forward group. The problem is the hardest thing to get is a superstar, and they need more than one of them. This team has the pieces in place to be good for a whil