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SCOTTSDALE, AZ - JULY 08: Assistant General Manager/Analytics John Chayka (C) of the Arizona Coyotes watches the prospect development camp at the Ice Den on July 8, 2015 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Coyotes Reportedly To Promote 26-Year-Old Assistant GM John Chayka To GM

The Arizona Coyotes are reportedly expected to promote Assistant General Manager/Analytics John Chayka, 26, to general manager, thus making him the youngest GM in NHL history, a person familiar with the situation stated Wednesday.

Coyotes To Promote Assistant GM John Chayka To GM

The team has scheduled a news conference for Thursday, according to the source, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, given that the news has not yet been officially announced.

Chayka will replace Don Maloney, who was fired on April 11 after nine seasons as GM. Chayka will be younger than 13 players currently on the Coyotes’ roster. The previous youngest general manager, Gord Stellick, was hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1988 at the age of 30.

Chayka will also bring his analytical acumen to the Coyotes’ front office. He co-founded hockey analytics firm Stathletes in 2009 and served as its director of hockey operations before being hired as Arizona’s assistant GM under Maloney prior to last season.

Chayka will be working with other talented young members of his team. Rookies Max Domi and Anthony Duclair both had strong rookie seasons in 2015-16, and the Coyotes have several strong players in their minor-league affiliate who could contribute to the team very soon.

Arizona head coach David Tippett, who was retained following Maloney’s termination, is expected to play a larger role in the team’s hockey operations under Chayka.

Coyotes co-owner Anthony LeBlanc spoke highly of Chayka’s skills, although he added that he didn’t wish the organization to head too strongly in a stats-driven direction.

“He has absolutely been a very impressive hire. A very poised young man – mature beyond his years. He’s been an incredibly positive addition to this organization. I really got to witness it first hand when I sat in the war room in Pittsburgh for trade deadline,” LeBlanc said. “Just the sheer amount of knowledge he brings. But at the end of the day it’s not like it’s a new thing in sports – it’s obviously been well documented, the importance of analytics. But it’s not the be-all-end-all. I’m not sitting here saying we’re going to turn ourselves into a Wall Street firm and have 25 kids here doing numbers, but I think there’s a fine balance and that’s what we’re trying to find.”

Before settling on Chayka, the Coyotes reportedly spoke with a few other candidates, including 30-year-old Toronto Maple Leafs assistant GM Kyle Dubas and Dallas Stars assistant GM Les Jackson. Dubas said he didn’t consider himself ready to take on a GM role, and no deal was reached with Jackson.

The Coyotes haven’t made the playoffs since the 2011-12 season. Arizona’s opening was the only general manager vacancy still unfilled this NHL postseason.

SCOTTSDALE, AZ – JULY 08: Assistant General Manager/Analytics John Chayka (C) of the Arizona Coyotes watches the prospect development camp at the Ice Den on July 8, 2015 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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Written by Pablo Mena

Writer and assistant editor for usports.org. NY Giants and Rangers fan. Film and TV enthusiast (especially Harry Potter and The Office) and lover of foreign languages and cultures.

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