Anaheim Ducks Should Be Involved in Jakob Chychrun Trade Talks

With the Anaheim Ducks in the middle of the playoff race for the first time in several seasons, keep an eye on how they operate near the trade deadline. In the mid-2010s, the Ducks were mostly buyers at the deadline, bolstering a playoff-ready lineup that included David Perron in 2016 and Patrick Eaves in 2017. 

Those versions of the Ducks were a lot closer to being a legitimate Stanley Cup contender than this version. The team is young and exciting but flawed and with many expiring contracts. As tempting as it may be to set the thrusters forward and commit assets towards a deep playoff run, it would not serve the Ducks’ long-term potential during this new era. 

However, there is one option that could satisfy both the Ducks’ immediate and long-term needs. Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun has been the darling of trade rumors until now, and for good reason. He is one of the few bright spots in the desert, posting a career-high 41 points in 56 games last season. His numbers have taken a dip this season, but that has more to do with the team around him.

Jakob Chychrun Arizona Coyotes
Jakob Chychrun, Arizona Coyotes (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Most importantly, he’s only 23 years old and is under a more-than-reasonable contract for the next three seasons. While those figures would appeal to nearly any NHL general manager, the Ducks have the unique ability to not only meet the demands that the Coyotes would ask for in a trade but would also be the perfect option to bolster their defense, which may have to deal with the departure of Hampus Lindholm, who is a pending unrestricted free agent.

Trade Package: Max Comtois, Jacob Perreault & First-Round Pick

According to Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek, the asking price for Chychrun includes a young player, a prospect, and a first-round pick. It’s a steep price but worthwhile enough to have six teams reportedly interested and one with a legitimate offer. The Ducks are included in that and put together a competitive offer. They plenty of young roster players and a handful of prospects almost ready to make the jump. 

Related: NHL Talk: Coyotes’ Chychrun Analysis & Trade Discussion

Max Comtois is the most appealing name among young players. Comtois, 23, led the Ducks in goals last season but has struggled to find his scoring touch in 2021-22. Sam Steel might also be considered, but his lack of consistency would presumably be a deal-breaker.

Max Comtois Anaheim Ducks
Max Comtois, Anaheim Ducks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The prospect most likely to be moved is Jacob Perreault. Perreault, 19, recently made his NHL debut and fits the bill as almost NHL-ready. He was the 27th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft and is considered a pure sniper. The Coyotes are averaging a league-low 2.2 goals per game this season and could make use of someone with Perrault’s scoring ability within their system. Another prospect worth mentioning is Brayden Tracey, the 29th overall pick in 2019. But both Tracey and Comtois play left-wing, so packaging both would create a depth issue moving forward.

Related: Ducks Rookie Updates: Dostal, Perreault, Tracey, and Groulx

The package would also need to include a first-round pick, but the Ducks could recoup that loss by trading away some of their expiring contracts. Trading for Chychrun would expedite Lindholm’s departure – they both play on the left side. With Cam Fowler also on the left side and under contract until 2026, it would be impossible to use all three defensemen while creating room for prospects like 2021 second-round pick Olen Zellweger who should make the roster in the coming years. Trading Lindholm should give the Ducks another first-round pick and allow them to trade one to the Coyotes while keeping the other.

Ducks Building for the Future

Adding Chychrun to the Ducks’ defense would help provide several years of consistency in the top-4. On the left-hand side, Chychrun and Fowler are under contract for at least three more seasons. On the right side, Jamie Drysdale and Kevin Shattenkirk will carry the load until Shattenkirk becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2023.

Even with short-term losses, the Ducks can continue to build and improve. Trading away Comtois would create a hole in the roster but would also create an opportunity for someone like Tracey to make the jump to full-time NHLer. The Ducks are built for the future. They’re young and talented but probably not ready to compete at the highest level. Adding Chychrun would allow another young, talented piece to develop with a franchise that could become deep with talent for years to come.

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