Disgraced former NHL GM John Chayka officially interviews for vacant GM position
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Disgraced former NHL GM John Chayka officially interviews for vacant GM position

Are you KIDDING me?! This guy is toxic!



It's shaping up to be a very busy and very important offseason for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The team dismissed GM Ron Hextall and President Brian Burke last month after failing to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2006. There have been rumors that the Penguins would like to hire pending free agent GM Kyle Dubas of the Toronto Maple Leafs, but just yesterday Dubas himself said that he's not interested. He'll either sign an extension with the Leafs or he'll take some time away from the NHL.

The Penguins have reportedly expressed interest in several other prominent names for its GM position though. Josh Yohe of The Athletic reports that Penguins owners Fenway Sports Group have discussed the position with the likes of Peter Chiarelli, Jason Karmanos, Marc Bergevin, Eric Tulsky and John Chayka. Even more interesting though is the prospect of the Penguins bringing back former assistant GM Jason Botterill, this time as the team's GM. Botterill, of course, was a key member of the team's management staff under Jim Rutherford and received a lot of credit for the team's back to back Stanley Cup championships in 2016 and 2017. He was then hired by the Buffalo Sabres and... well... maybe the less said about his time in Buffalo, the better. Currently, Botterill is an assistant GM with the Seattle Kraken.

Under Botterill, the Sabres continued to languish in the bottom of the NHL's standings and only recently have started to work their way up the NHL's rankings. 

Still, Botterill is a well respected hockey mind and deserves consideration.

More from Yohe:

No one is more qualified for this job than Botterill. He knows the roster. He has a good relationship with the organization’s most important people. He knows the market well. Shero trained him for this. So did Rutherford. No one works harder than him. Several former executives and scouts reached out to me recently, hopeful that Botterill will be named the Penguins’ next general manager.

He’s a hybrid, and that’s what the Penguins should want. Some fans simply want the Penguins to hire someone embedded in analytics, and FSG thinks this way to some extent, too. It’s not that simple, though. The best teams still have GMs with experience, an understanding of how the league works and relationships with other general managers. One of Rutherford’s greatest strengths is that he’s well-liked around the league, so other GMs are willing to talk business with him.

Botterill is all of the above. He understands newer hockey philosophies. He’s on board. He’ll make the Penguins more sophisticated and a better organization. Members of the old guard love him, too. And that’s not a bad thing. He’s the bridge.

- Josh Yohe

While this is all a compelling case, there's been no indication that Botterill is in consideration for the job or would even have interest. I've got to say though... it makes perfect sense on paper. The problem with hockey though is that it's not played on paper.

Another intriguing name coming out of Pittsburgh is disgraced former Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka.

Penguins insider Dan Kingerski reports that the Penguins are taking a "hard look" at Chayka:

Chayka, for those who don't remember, was unceremoniously dumped by the Coyotes after it was found out that the team had been circumventing the NHL's rules concerning the Draft Combine. The Coyotes were fined both in terms of dollars and draft picks. But... that's not where this story ends. Chayka was subsequently suspended by both the Coyotes and the NHL after it was discovered that he was seeking employment outside the organization.

The NHL sent a memo to its teams in the 2021 offseason, saying "Chayka engaged in conduct detrimental to the league, breached his obligation to the club, and was properly terminated by the club."

In July, 2021 the Coyotes issued a statement saying that Chayka “quit” on the team and that the club was “disappointed” by his decision. In his own statement, Chayka said he left the team due to a “situation created by ownership.”

This is the guy the Penguins want in charge? C'mon...

Source: Dan Kingerski