Mark Madden

Mark Madden

The Super Genius of Pittsburgh Sports.Full Bio



It’s Fenway Sports Group’s predilection to make sports hires who lean heavily on analytics.

That’s why Kyle Dubas is a good fit for the Penguins’ GM position if Toronto doesn’t retain him. Dubas might be No. 1 among hockey analytics types. He's the NHL’s Billy Beane. 

But don’t count out John Chayka. FSG reportedly likes him. 

Chayka, 33, was Arizona’s GM from 2016-2020. He was 26 when he got hired, making him the NHL’s youngest GM ever. 

The Coyotes made the playoffs once during Chayka’s four seasons. That’s rarefied air for the Coyotes, their only post-season berth in the last 11 years. That was in 2020, the COVID-19 bubble playoffs. Arizona won a qualifying series to get into the playoffs proper. (That’s more than the Penguins did then.) 

Chayka has cheated some. The Coyotes hosted a private scouting combine for draft prospects, which the NHL doesn’t allow. That cost them first- and second-round draft picks. 

Chayka was also suspended for the 2021 calendar year for seeking employment with other clubs while still under contract to Arizona, then quitting with three seasons left on his deal. Chayka has not worked in the NHL since.

Chayka is a true analytics geek. Before getting the GM job with Arizona, he was part of a successful hockey analytics company called Stathletes. (Chayka and his brother-in-law founded Stathletes in the latter's basement. That's laugh-out-loud stereoptypical.)

He also owns 12 Wendy’s. That seems appropriate. The Penguins are just about out of filet mignon. It’s time for hamburger. 

Photo: Getty Images

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