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The Arizona Coyotes Are Improving Under John Chayka’s Direction

from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,

In his short time in charge, Chayka has traded for goalies Antti Raanta and Darcy Kuemper; forwards Derek Stepan, Alex Galchenyuk, Richard Panik and Vinnie Hinostroza; and defensemen Niklas Hjalmarsson, Alex Goligoski, Jason Demers and Jordan Oesterle.

“We’ve made a lot of moves, and now they are accumulating to mean something,” Chayka said.

He also drafted forward Clayton Keller and extended defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson on an eight-year, $66 million contract when many in the media were predicting Ekman-Larsson would leave as a free agent after this season.

"It was rewarding (that Ekman-Larsson stayed),” Chayka said. “He could have signed with 30 other teams and gotten as much money, if not more. He had leverage. …The fact he was willing to sign here long-term was a big vote of confidence for our ownership, myself, the coaching staff. It validated a lot of things we are trying to do.”

What the Coyotes are trying to do is ignite a fan base by qualifying for the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

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added 8:33am, from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

Others in Tocchet’s shoes, meanwhile, might have preferred not to go back to the uncertainty of the Coyotes. Still, Tocchet signed on to be the club’s new head coach in the summer of 2017.

“It’s been a weird coaching journey for me,” says Tocchet. “I don’t know if I was fearful. But I probably thought in my head, ‘Hey, I may not get another shot at being a head coach.’ I’m not a bitter guy. I’m lucky I even played in the NHL. But yeah, I would have been upset if I didn’t get another chance. You have to be lucky, eh?

Tocchet’s Coyotes are right now one of the NHL’s hottest teams, a club being eyed nervously by the other 30. Friday’s overtime win at home over Carolina on Michal Grabner’s winner — Clayton Keller’s spectacular 30-foot saucer pass to create Grabner’s goal is well worth searching out the video to see it yourself — was the fifth straight for Arizona.

The Coyotes are the NHL’s best defensive team, having given up a miserly 24 goals in 12 games going into Monday’s game against Philadelphia.

“I’m a big keep-an-even-keel guy,” says Tocchet. “If you don’t keep doing the right things, it can switch on you pretty quick.”

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Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: john+chayka

Comments

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Too bad they’re up for sale (“looking for new investors”) again…

Posted by AZWinger on 11/06/18 at 02:36 PM ET

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While the Phoenix-Arizona ownership and local government issues are arguably the most boring endless ones of the past many years, the team has been a pretty decent one on paper going backward to the start of last season. Too many key guys were seemingly injured for too long to really test that until recently.

Posted by lefty.30 on 11/06/18 at 03:12 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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