The Devils have been in rumors that may make future negotiations harder.
Hockey is officially underway as the puck dropped on Tuesday for an exhibition game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers. It was great to have hockey back, but the reality for New Jersey Devils fans is hockey isn’t coming for the likes of Nico Hischier and Kyle Palmieri for quite a while. That hasn’t stopped the Devils from being part of the national hockey conversation.
There are rampant rumors that the Devils ownership group had a very active role in former Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka stepping down from his post. It led to this statement from the Yotes management, which starts with a bombshell.
John Chayka has quit as the General Manager and President of Hockey Operations of the Arizona Coyotes.
It’s not very often that one hears about a general manager straight up quitting one of the most coveted jobs in all of sports. The GM job is one people would rather have than head coach and even in some cases better than the star player role. They basically get to run the team while the owners count the money as it comes in and they can control their other businesses. Yet, the youngest GM in league history up and quit the job outright according to the team.
So, where do the Devils fit in all of this? The rumor mill is buzzing, and there are reports that the Devils were the team looking to give Chayka a different opportunity that led to him quitting. Only time will tell before we see where Chayka goes next, and if the Devils ownership group is part of his future. One thing we do know is if the Devils were involved in this drama, the next time they call the Coyotes is going to be very awkward for new GM Tom Fitzgerald.
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Teams have burned bridges in the past by either lying in trade negotiations or dealing in bad faith or actively looking to take advantage of a team in a bad position. Some might say it’s just business, but when teams are looking to deal, it’s bound to turn personal.
Speaking of personal, the Carolina Hurricanes seem to have some feelings when it comes to the Sami Vatanen trade. When looking at the actual wording of the deal, if Vatanen plays 70 percent of the team’s playoff games, then the Devils should be getting a 3rd-round pick this season. However, if you ask the Hurricanes, not only do they say that Janne Kuokkanen and Fredrik Claesson finishes the deal, but they claim the asset they got was not the one they thought they were getting.
GM Don Waddell says he thinks the conditions have been met, but that will be for the league to decide. Head coach Rod Brind Amour has said he was more injured than they thought. Maybe that’s not bad faith dealing as much as it is Vatanen hitting a setback on his comeback attempt, but how the Devils deal in arbitration with the league will show how the relationship with the Canes will work moving forward.
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The Devils have a whole new regime in place, but with Fitzgerald still the GM, it will be negotiating with a similar face. Maybe this will all blow over, or maybe the Devils should just go scorched Earth and start throwing restricted free agent contracts out. Either way, time heals all wounds, so even if some teams are mad at the Devils now, we think if Jersey’s Team ends up being the one with the best deal, it’s going to happen.