They could have had the same effect killing Chakotay. Killing Chakotay would probably done a better job overcoming the mediocre state of Voyager at the time. And I doubt the Voyager fanatics would have complained about losing Chuckles. He was more involved in the Voyager books at the time and wasn't the icon Janeway was.
But killing characters wouldn't be necessary at all with quality stories and authors. The good publicity of Beyer's high quality books would have rejuvenated interest in itself. I'm in a similar state being done with Ent. I still like Ent, but I wouldn't go back unless they get a decent author and story in there. No need to kill Archer.
It`s easier for the authors to stuff Janeway into the fridge than Chakotay. This way they don`t have to deal with a female captain unless it`s one that they put in place (Ro, Ezri). Female characters usually get the short end of the stick unless they`re the star of the show like Buffy, etc. In an larger group, even though one or two characters may be more like a traditional leading character, women usually end up on the losing end as time goes on.
Part of the problem is that most of the writers are men and generally don`t do as good a job writing women as they do men. The reverse is usually true as well. This is of course a general observation and there are authors of both genders who can handle characters of the opposite equally well.
I`m not a fan of how they killed Janeway. That doesn`t mean that I would be opposed to the character dying, just not in the way she did (or didn`t, considering the huge EXIT sign they hung on it by bringing in the Q). It makes the death meaningless if she can return at any time with a sanp of the fingers. Ì`m much better now. It was just a case of 24 hour death.`