Since last season, Jakob Chychrun has been one of the most-talked-about names in the rumor mill. This is entirely understandable, as he has made it known that he wants to be traded to have the opportunity to play for a contender, and the Coyotes are, of course, far from that. With Chychrun being a star defenseman, the rebuilding Coyotes are looking to receive the biggest offer possible for the 24-year-old. With the trade deadline roughly a month away, there’s reason to believe that a move could very well occur at some point during the next few weeks.
After starting this season sidelined due to injury, Chychrun has not lost a step in the slightest, as he has five goals, 25 points, and a plus-6 rating in 34 games. Due to his strong campaign and affordable $4.6 million cap hit until the end of the 2024-25 season, he is easily one of the biggest trade targets available right now. Interest in his services is starting to skyrocket because of it, as The Fourth Period has reported that there are six teams currently linked to him. Let’s now take a look at each of them.
Chychrun Heading East?
Out of the six teams currently linked to Chychrun, there are surprisingly only two looking at him right now from the Eastern Conference. The Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs are aiming to bring in the top-pairing defenseman, and it ultimately makes sense when looking at both of their rosters.
The Panthers absolutely need to make a big splash if they hope to reach the postseason this spring. After winning the Presidents’ Trophy last season, they have taken a notable step in the wrong direction this year, as they have a 24-22-6 record. They currently trail the Pittsburgh Penguins by three points for the final wild card spot and have played three more games. A major reason for their struggles is the left side of their defense being weak and MacKenzie Weegar no longer being with the club. Yet, acquiring Chychrun and playing him with Aaron Ekblad would make their top pairing truly lethal again.
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The Toronto Maple Leafs, on the other hand, are having an excellent season and looking to be major buyers. With the Eastern Conference sporting other powerhouses like the Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes, and Boston Bruins, they would be wise to make a major splash to beef up their defensive group. Chychrun would provide them with another star, and his affordable cap hit should only make him more appealing to Toronto. Due to his ability to play the right side, he could also form a strong top pairing with Morgan Rielly.
Chychrun Staying West?
Chychrun is primarily receiving interest from the Western Conference at this point, as the Los Angeles Kings, Edmonton Oilers, Anaheim Ducks, and St. Louis Blues are all aiming to acquire the star defenseman. With the Coyotes in a full-on rebuild, they likely are not against the prospect of trading in the same conference if it results in them landing the biggest return for the 2016 first-round pick.
The Los Angeles Kings currently have a 28-18-6 record and are third in a very close Pacific Division. As a result, they are expected to be major buyers at the deadline, and one area that needs major improvement is the left side of their defensive group. They currently have a surplus of right-shot defensemen and are looking to move one, so perhaps a player like Sean Walker along with a first-round pick and some notable prospects could help make a move go through. It would be the kind of blockbuster that would make the Kings look like legitimate contenders before the postseason on paper.
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The Oilers arguably sport the best top six in the NHL, but they are still fourth in the Pacific Division at the time of this writing. The primary reason for this is the left side of their defensive group, so it makes all the sense in the world that they are looking toward acquiring Chychrun. He could take over Darnell Nurse’s role on the top pairing and work well with Cody Ceci. With that, Chychrun would have the chance to play with significantly better offensive weapons like Connor McDavid, Leon Drasaitl, and Zach Hyman, so his already-strong production could very increase with Edmonton.
At first glance, some fans may be surprised that the rebuilding Ducks want to acquire Chychrun. After all, they are currently at the bottom of the Pacific Division and are destined to be major sellers at the deadline because of it. However, with Chychrun having multiple years left on his contract, he would be more than a rental and could become a key piece of their rebuild. Although the Ducks are struggling, their future is bright with young players like Trevor Zegras, Mason McTavish, Jamie Drysdale, and Troy Terry. Adding a young star like Chychrun to that core would only make them better in the long run. Yet, with his desire to play for a contender, Anaheim may not be the best match for him.
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The Blues’ 2022-23 season has been a disaster. After entering the campaign viewed as contenders, they sport a 23-25-3 record, and their playoff hopes are decreasing significantly because of it. A major reason behind it has been their defensive struggles, so it makes sense that they are linked to Chychrun. He would immediately become their number-one defenseman and provide their blue line with the star that they desperately need.
It’s Time for Arizona to Trade Chychrun
With so many teams expressing a clear interest in acquiring Chychrun, it is now time for the Coyotes to end this prolonged saga. He is currently playing some of the best hockey of his career, and Arizona could land a marvelous return for him because of it. Furthermore, they would finally fulfill his wish of being moved.
Although these six teams are currently linked to Chychrun, I also believe that we could see other clubs like the Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, and Buffalo Sabres enter the mix. This is because each of these Eastern Conference teams could use some serious help with the left side of their defensive group in both the present and the future.
Alas, regardless of where Chychrun ends up going, a trade simply needs to happen at this point. Let’s see if he gets moved before the 2023 Trade Deadline passes because of it.