Is Arizona Coyotes general manager John Chayka the NHL's version of 'Moneyball?'

Posted at 2:55 PM, Oct 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-18 17:55:19-04

If you've seen the 2011 film "Moneyball," you know the story of Billy Beane, the former MLB player-turned front office man for the Oakland A's. 

The film depicts Beane (played by Brad Pitt) during the 2002 MLB season, as he embraces the use of advanced analytics in order to help his team make the best use of its limited funds to put together a winning season. The methodology worked, as the A's went on a 20-game winning streak and advanced to the playoffs.

At just 27 years of age, John Chayka is the youngest general manager in professional sports and just half the age of the 54-year-old Beane. But the Arizona Coyotes named him their GM in May because of his unrivaled understanding of hockey statistics.

Before joining the Coyotes' front office, Chayka was a part of "Stathletes," a company that offers in-depth hockey analytics. He hopes to put his experience there to good use as Coyotes GM.

"I think we share some similarities, of course, with our methodology and backgrounds a bit," Chayka told ABC15's Jason Snavely about comparisons to himself and Beane. "But (I've got) a long way to go in terms of wins and experience." 

The A's have advanced to the postseason eight times since 2000. The Coyotes, who haven't been to the playoffs since their Western Conference Finals run in 2012, hope Chayka brings similar magic to the Valley.

"Billy's had a lot of success, of course. He's a real intelligent guy, so I take (the comparison) as a compliment," Chayka said. "I think it's something to strive for and I hope to have the same amount of success he's had."

The Coyotes opened their 2016-17 season with an overtime victory over the visiting Philadelphia Flyers and are about to embark on a six-game road trip.

No one is picking the Coyotes to make the playoffs this season, let alone have a chance to win the Stanley Cup. But after making some key offseason moves to bolster his team's roster, the Coyotes' "Moneyball" man is optimistic.

"I think we're doing good things here," Chayka said. "We're on the right path. I'm happy to be a part of it."