GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Coyotes have hired St. Louis assistant GM Bill Armstrong as their next general manager.
Armstrong arrives in the desert after spending the past two seasons as the Blues' assistant GM and director of amateur scouting. He replaces John Chayka, who resigned on the eve of Arizona's first postseason appearance in eight years.
“We are thrilled to name Bill as our new GM,” Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo said in a statement Thursday. “Bill is smart, honest and hard-working and he knows how to build a winning team. He brings the right mix of hockey knowledge, business acumen and leadership qualities that we need in order to achieve our goal of bringing a Stanley Cup to Arizona.”
The 50-year-old Armstrong joined the Blues in 2004 as an amateur scout and was named director of amateur scouting in 2010. He added the title of assistant general manager in 2018 and oversaw St. Louis' participation in the NHL draft.
Under Armstrong's guidance, the Blues drafted numerous players who were part of their 2019 Stanley Cup title, including Jordan Binnington, Joel Edmundson, Robby Fabbri and Robert Thomas.
Armstrong played four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League and nine seasons in the American and International hockey leagues after being drafted in the third round by the Philadelphia Flyers. He spent six seasons as a coach in the American Hockey League and East Coast Hockey League before joining the Blues.
“We have great ownership that is committed to winning, a very good core group of young, talented players, and a passionate fan base,” Armstrong said in a statement. "I’m excited about our future and the opportunity to build this team into a perennial playoff contender.”
Chayka, who was considered one of the NHL's top young GMs, had an acrimonious split with the Coyotes after asking Meruelo for permission to interview for another job. His resignation was announced the day the Coyotes left for the Edmonton postseason bubble for their first playoff appearance since reaching the 2012 Western Conference Finals.
Arizona knocked out Nashville in the Stanley Cup qualifiers but lost to Colorado in five games during the opening round of the playoffs, losing the final two games by identical 7-1 scores.
The Coyotes have a solid young core of talented players, but need to add more scoring punch.
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