John Chayka talks Lawson Crouse trade, Dawn Braid hiring

RJ Broadhead and Sam Cosentino from BioSteel Camp, breaking down the salary cap trade between Florida and Arizona, with the Coyotes landing another huge future piece in Lawson Crouse.

John Chayka has had a busy two days.

On Wednesday, the Arizona Coyotes general manager hired Dawn Braid, a well-known skating coach who can help the young team find its NHL stride.

One day later, Chayka added to the club’s already-deep prospect pool when he landed Lawson Crouse in a trade with the Florida Panthers.

Chayka addressed both topics during an appearance on Prime Time Sports Thursday evening, and discussed what each move means for the club’s development-driven plan.

Thursday’s trade clearly made sense for both sides, with the Panthers able to unload Dave Bolland‘s cap hit and contract as well as pick up future draft picks. But for Chayka and the Coyotes, it was all about one thing: landing a “rare asset” in Lawson Crouse—especially at this young stage.

“Usually these guys, when they’re at the calibre that Lawson is, they’re hard to find and usually they don’t become available until they’re into their 30s, and at that point you’re paying a premium for a guy who’s maybe not on the right side of his career. And we didn’t want to have to do that,” Chayka said of the budding power forward. “We wanted to be able to add size and some weight and skating and skill without having to go down that route.”

In Crouse’s 6-foot-4, 212-pound frame, Chayka brings size to a club currently more focused on speed and skill in an effort to diversify the type of player the Coyotes are putting on the ice—the “portfolio theory,” he says.

“Here’s a chance to get a guy, engage him in our group, grow with our young group here,” said Chayka. “Between [left winger Crouse] and Christian Fischer on the right side, we’ve got some good weight to our group to supplement the high-end skill of the Clayton Kellers, the Max Domis, the Dylan Stromes.”

The key for the young Coyotes going forward is development. And that’s where Braid comes in.

Braid’s hiring on Wednesday made her the NHL’s first-ever full-time female coach. It was also a “no-brainer” move for Chayka.

“It came down to the quality of the person. Dawn has consulted with a lot of different NHL teams and has had a lot of success,” said Chayka. “She’s gotten results from every player she’s worked with and they’ve got a ton of respect for her. [Coyotes head coach] Dave Tippett and myself wanted to integrate her into our staff and bring her on board.”

Braid’s long resume includes working with players like New York Islanders captain John Tavares and consulting with a number of NHL clubs like the Toronto Maple Leafs, Anaheim Ducks and Calgary Flames.

“She understands the strengths and weaknesses and how they apply to a player’s game and can address those issues,” said Chayka, who also pointed out how Braid can help the management side of things by assessing prospects’ potential before they even come into the organization.

“For us, we think it’s a real competitive advantage,” he said. “It was just something that made a lot of sense to do at this time, and we’re happy to have Dawn.”

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