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Chayka Enjoying Job, Hectic Portion of Off-Season

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE – John Chayka on Thursday will reach the six week mark of his tenure as general manager of the Coyotes.

With the NHL Draft, the start of free agency and the annual Prospect Development Camp all fast approaching, it is a busy time for the 27-year-old executive.

“I’m really enjoying it and settling in,” Chayka said of his new job, which he began on May 5. “At first there was a lot of chaos going on, but in a good way. We made some significant changes to our staff and we continue to evolve our philosophy. We had a great meeting with our off-ice staff in terms of building the proper culture here so that was the first step. Now, as we move forward, we’ve done a lot of our research and homework and we hope to execute. It’s time to execute. That’s going to be the fun part.”

John Chayka. Photo by Norm Hall.

The 2016 NHL Draft is up first, next weekend, in Buffalo. The Coyotes are slated to make eight picks, including two in the first round at No. 7 and No. 20.

Chayka said it’s unlikely that an assistant general manager would be named to his staff before the draft, but that’s OK.

“We’re not looking to rush things just to get it done by a deadline,” Chayka said. “I don’t think there is a deadline, but the quicker we can add an experienced manger I think the better our staff will be in the long run. We’re not dragging our feet, we’re just making sure we get the right person.”

• Chayka said defenseman Michael Stone’s rehab from knee surgery is progressing well and that the six-month recovery timeline assigned to Stone at the end of the season still applies.

Michael Stone is a very dedicated athlete and he’s doing everything he can to get back as soon as he can,” Chayka said.

Meanwhile, Chayka said forward Tobias Rieder is in Germany rehabbing from a knee injury suffered during the IIHF World Championship.

“All indications are he’s progressing well,” Chayka said. “It’s not a very serious injury, and he’s got a long summer to get back up to 100 percent and that’s where we expect him to be in September.”

• Rieder, Stone, Connor Murphy, Jared Tinordi, Kevin Connauton, Klas Dahlbeck and Louis Domingue all are set to become restricted free agents on July 1. Chayka said negotiations with some of those players are in the advanced stages.

“I expect to have some agreements before the draft, hopefully,” Chayka said. “But there’s no rush in the process. It’s about doing it right, it’s not about being quick.”

• Chayka also said negotiations with captain Shane Doan are continuing. Doan, 39, is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

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