Unlike many analytics gurus, John Chayka has an Internet Hockey Database player page. It’s not exactly a storied career – 101 games with the Woodstock Slammers of the junior Maritime Hockey League – but it’s something.
Perhaps that made the world safe for a guy with no previous front office experience to land an assistant general manager gig with in NHL: He’s not just a stats nerd, he’s a former jock that became a stats nerd!
According to Aaron Ward of TSN, Chayka has been hired by the Arizona Coyotes as their new AGM to general manager Don Maloney.
Chayka is co-founder of Stathletes, a Canadian firm that uses video analysis to offer a complete picture of a player’s game and has “over 100-times the statistical resolution of typical tracking methods.”
Thus continues the trend of struggling teams adding bright young minds with an affinity for analytics. The most dramatic example remains Kyle Dubas of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the former Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds general manager who was hired at 28 to work as an assistant GM in the NHL. But other teams have added analytics smarties, including Tyler Dellow with the Edmonton Oilers and Sunny Mehta with the New Jersey Devils.
The Coyotes seem like a franchise ripe for a “money puck” approach. They have an innovative general manager. They have a young core of players coming up that’ll need to be augmented by effective, cheap veterans. And, well, we don’t know if you’ve heard this but the team does lose a dollar or two annually.
Speaking of young players: Shane Doan is 13 years older than John Chayka. When they meet, it’s totally that scene between James Bond and ‘Q’ in SKYFALL in the art museum.
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