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Chayka: Coyotes turned negatives from past 10 days into positives

Coyotes GM John Chayka
LISTEN: John Chayka, Arizona Coyotes general manager

The last 10 days for the Arizona Coyotes have been a whirlwind.

Imagine the weight of the workload on general manager John Chayka since owner Andrew Barroway restructured the front office on June 16.

The Coyotes made four trades — including the dealing of goalie Mike Smith — told captain Shane Doan they were moving in a different direction and parted ways with coach Dave Tippett. That’s not to mention the expansion draft and regular NHL draft duties that were already on the schedule.

There’s no doubt the most difficult challenges of the past week was moving on from Smith, Doan and Tippett, three pillars of the organization.

“The job is to take challenges straight on and try to overcome them. I took the job knowing full well what it entailed,” Chayka, who was hired as GM in May 2016, told Doug and Wolf on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station. “There’s ups and downs in any situation. There’s always the challenges.

“This week was tough but at the same time, I think we were able to turn some negatives to hopefully to some positives as well and gain some traction and some momentum here, and what I believe to be a strong rebuild and a team that can be competitive.”

Chayka wouldn’t say which conversation was the hardest.

The Smith trade signaled a change in direction, but the decision not to welcome Doan back for another season certainly came as the most shocking move from a public perspective.

Tippett’s buyout wasn’t directly about his opinion on the moves involving his two veteran leaders but a combination of issues, he told Arizona Sports’ Craig Morgan.

From Chayka’s perspective, moving past the franchise’s most recognizable faces was difficult but part of the job.

“For us it’s about that next wave and putting together that can be successful for the next decade here,” the general manager said. “What I would say is that I don’t know any business that had success without having to make difficult decisions.

“I don’t think one conversation was easier or harder than the next. Those are three people who have poured their heart and soul into this organization,” Chayka said of Doan, Tippett and Smith. “You just be respectful, explain your situation, where we’re at, where we’re trying to go. Those are three people I admire a lot and you hope some time and some perspective allows people to understand what you’re trying to do.”

What Chayka did to follow those moves perhaps gave Coyotes fans a sense of hope.

Before the draft began, Arizona traded Connor Murphy and Laurent Dauphin to the Blackhawks for defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson. The Coyotes weren’t done — they dealt the No. 7 pick in the draft and defenseman Anthony DeAngelo to the Rangers for center Derek Stepan and goalie Antti Raanta.

“I think we have a lot of good pieces in place,” Chayka said.

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