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‘Yotes Notes: Chayka on trade talks, Smith’s ‘extremely high’ value

Newly appointed Arizona Coyotes general manager John Chayka speaks at a news conference announcing his promotion, Thursday, May 5, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. Chayka is the youngest GM in NHL history. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Coyotes general manager John Chayka returned to the Valley from Buffalo on Monday with scores of trade possibilities on his mind, but nothing concrete in hand. With the expansion draft approaching, discussions at the NHL Scouting Combine last week took on a more urgent tone but never reached the boiling point.

“There is a deadline in place for a reason,” said Chayka of the upcoming trade/waiver freeze. “There are a lot of conversations right now. Hopefully, I’ll find out in the next seven days so I can execute for a week.”

The deadline for the Coyotes to submit their protection list for the expansion draft is 2 p.m. Arizona time on June 17 (the NHL will approve and distribute the protection lists to all teams and the NHL Players’ Association the next day). At noon on June 17, every team except the Vegas Golden Knights will enter into a trade/waiver freeze that extends until June 22 (they also won’t be allowed to sign players).

Several teams — Columbus, Anaheim, Minnesota and Nashville among them — have more valuable assets than they can protect under the league’s 7-3-1 or 8-1 protection formats, so they are looking to deal those players for assets, rather than lose them to Vegas for nothing.

The expansion draft will be held June 21, so if the Coyotes want to make any deals for unprotected players they’ll have to do so by the 17th.

“There’s a lot of newness to this for people, and it’s not just that there’s an expansion draft, but the draft and free agency right after it,” Chayka said. “It’s pretty fluid right now.”

MIKE SMITH TRADE TALK

Goalie Mike Smith has been the subject of recent trade speculation.

Here’s what Chayka had to say about that speculation.

“If it’s being viewed as me making Mike available and starting a bidding war, that’s not the case,” he said. “We’re taking calls on players every year. I don’t think anyone is untradeable but like we talked about last year with Oliver Ekman-Larsson, he’s up as high on that list as anyone.

“There’s a value to our team that Mike has, being an All-Star and our rock. His value is extremely high but if someone wants to pay an even higher value for him, that’s the industry.”

Trading Smith would put the Coyotes in a quandary in goal. They do not believe Louis Domingue is ready to assume that role and none of their prospects — Adin Hill being chief among them — is ready for that jump.

“Goaltending is such a premium position and Mike was as good as anyone in the league last year,” Chayka said.

LOOSE PUCKS

— Chayka on the Scouting Combine: “People say there are good years and bad years. To me, it was a year like any other. There were a lot of really good players. Some have the potential to be great players. For us, sitting with two first-round picks, we’re extremely excited about the opportunity ahead.”

One player that turned Chayka’s head was center Josh Norris of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program.

“When you see Josh Norris finish first in five tests that’s impressive,” Chayka said. “His results were exceptional across the board, physically.”

The Coyotes currently own seven selections in the 2017 NHL Draft, including the No. 7 and No. 23 picks (from Minnesota in the Martin Hanzal trade) in the first round, and selections in the second, third (two picks), fifth and seventh rounds.

— Chayka said there is nothing new to report on Shane Doan’s decision to retire or return. Doan was believed to be having dinner with coach Dave Tippett on Monday.

— As Arizona Sports has reported on multiple occasions, Andrew Barroway’s attempted buyout of the minority owners is on track with the expectation it will be completed. The soft deadline for that buyout was set for Tuesday of this week.

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