Prior to the start of the 2021-22 season, there were plenty of rumblings that the Arizona Coyotes were looking to move Jakob Chychrun. After all, it was clear that management had decided to head for a full rebuild, and the now 24-year-old defenseman could have gotten them a significant return given the fact he was coming off of a season in which he scored a league-leading 18 goals in just 56 games.
That trade never came, however, and the Coyotes chose to hold onto him for the entirety of the 2021-22 season. That move may prove to backfire, as he along with the rest of the roster struggled in a big way.
That said, a trade is still likely to occur, as Chychrun himself recently said he would like to be a part of a more competitive team moving forward. Since those comments, the market around him has really heated up. It feels like just a matter of time until a deal is worked out. Let’s take a look at three teams who would be great trading partners for the Coyotes in this situation.
One team who has been rumored to be interested in Chychrun since it was first known he was available over a year ago is the Edmonton Oilers. That interest has since been confirmed by TSN’s Darren Dreger and makes plenty of sense given their roster structure. As everyone knows, this is a team that is loaded up front but has some question marks on their back end as they prepare to enter the 2022-23 campaign.
It is important to note that Chychrun won’t come cheap. In fact, any deal would likely have to include Philip Broberg, who is their top defensive prospect. That said, as promising as Broberg is, he is years away from his prime. Chychrun, on the other hand, is in the midst of his.
Obviously, Broberg alone wouldn’t be enough to make things work given the salary implications, though Chychrun does have a very friendly contract that has three years remaining with a cap hit of $4.6 million. The likely candidate to be moved to help things money-wise would be Tyson Barrie, whom the Coyotes would have no problem taking on given the large amount of cap space they have.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas recently admitted that a contract extension hasn’t been offered yet, making it seem likely he will be fired if his team is unable to have success in next year’s playoffs. While he has done some good things during his tenure with the organization, he has far often been too hesitant to pull the trigger on a big deal, something he has the opportunity to do here.
Adding Chychrun would provide a huge boost to this Leafs’ blue line, as their top three defensemen on the left side would be himself, Morgan Rielly and Mark Giordano. Even better is the fact that they would have him not only for this season but the two following as well, on a very good deal.
As mentioned prior, the Coyotes have no issues when it comes to taking on salary, meaning the Leafs would likely be able to send Alex Kerfoot their way to free up some space. Rasmus Sandin, who was just re-signed on Thursday, could also be a player thrown into the deal. He has plenty of potential and is just 22-years-old, making him an attractive asset for the Coyotes. Of course, this in itself wouldn’t be enough to get a deal done, but Dubas does have first-round selections in each of the next three drafts that he could ship away as well.
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets made some serious improvements to their roster this offseason, the most notable being the signing of Johnny Gaudreau. In large part due to that deal, they were also able to sign Patrik Laine to a four-year extension, meaning that from an offensive standpoint, they should be in a good place for quite some time.
While their offense has improved, their blue line leaves plenty to be desired. Zach Werenski is a phenomenal talent, but after him, there are numerous question marks. Adding Chychrun would help bolster that, to the point that they may be able to make a playoff push in 2022-23.
As far as who they could give up from a cap perspective to make a potential deal work, Gustav Nyquist and his $5.5 million cap hit appears to be the best option. That said, they could also look at moving Jakub Voracek, who has two years remaining with a very lucrative cap hit of $8.25 million.
As for prospects, the Coyotes would likely be interested in defenseman David Jiricek, though the Blue Jackets may be hesitant to move him given that they just selected him sixth overall in the 2022 Draft. The more likely option is Corson Ceulemans, whom they selected 25th overall in 2021. The 19-year-old had an impressive freshman year at the University of Wisconsin and looks to have a very bright future ahead of him.
Plenty of Other Teams Interested
While the three above seem to be the best fits from a trading perspective, they are far from the only teams who have expressed interest in Chychrun. According to Dreger, several others have reached out to Coyotes management in the Ottawa Senators, Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues. Safe to say, they have plenty of options and shouldn’t have much of a problem getting a deal done in the near future.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.