With a few early key trades taking place that both remove some teams from the running for Jakob Chychrun and open up spots for others to now potentially add the defenseman, it’s worth taking a look at the franchises that are now in the mix for the blueliner just days away from the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline.
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Multiple insiders have noted that a changing marketplace creates new opportunities for the Arizona Coyotes to potentially get what they are seeking. The question will be, can a team pull things together quickly enough to make the trade?
Capitals Now Have an Open Spot On Their Blue Line
After trading Dmitry Orlov to the Boston Bruins, the deal both takes the Bruins out of the running for Chycrun, but also potentially creates an opportunity for the Washington Capitals to quickly flip their picks and retool on the go. TSN’s Darren Dreger tweeted on Friday, “It’s clear the Capitals are hoping to reset on the fly. Jake Chychrun is a player of interest for Washington. Including the 1st acquired from Boston, the Caps have the pick currency to make it work. The Chychrun saga has been ongoing since Nov, 2021.”
The Caps are not going to rebuild, not with Alexander Ovechkin on their roster. If they can turn the loss of someone like Orlov into the addition of Chychrun, they’d certainly be open to doing so.
Blues Could Use Their Picks From O’Reilly and Tarasenko Trades
The Blues now have nine draft picks in the 2023 draft, three of which are first-round selections. They also have a first and two seconds in the 2024 draft and needless to say, they absolutely have the picks to make this deal work and make the Coyotes quite happy.
The Blues might be ready to pack this season in, but Chycrhun is a player that has value beyond this year. He’s a good bargain at his cap hit over the next two seasons and GM Doug Armstrong is not afraid to make bold moves. Some insiders believe the Blues might actually make a pitch for both Chychrun and Timo Meier. Friedman noted on the 32 Thoughts Podcast, “Going back to last year, one of the teams we heard and one of the teams that were attached to Jakob Chychrun were the St. Louis Blues. They have the assets to do this and we know Arizona does not want to take on a whole lot of money, if any at all”.
The Oilers Are In This More Than at Any Time in the Past
TSN’s Ryan Rishaug isn’t sold that the Oilers will make a move to acquire Chychrun, but he did say that he believes GM Ken Holland is more involved in trade talks regarding the player and open to the idea of making a deal than at any time in the past. Edmonton’s big delay is that they aren’t sure about the asking price and Holland is hesitant to give up two firsts. That said, this is the season to go all-in and the players said they would like a puck mover if the Oilers take any kind of big swing.
The Oilers appear to be waiting for the market to play itself out, which is kind of what is happening as teams make other deals that take them out of the running.
Penguins Want the Player, GM Not Budging
Multiple insiders have noted that the Pittsburgh Penguins are interested in Jakob Chyrchrun, but GM Ron Hextall is not willing to move the first-rounders to acquire the player. Essentially, the coach (Mike Sullivan) wants the Penguins to do this. Hextall has made it clear he won’t mortgage the future for any move. That means two firsts is out of the question. It will be interesting to see what wins out.
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The issue for the Penguins is that they have an older group that needs pieces that can help them win right away. At the same time, they appear to be multiple pieces away from making a playoff run and Chychrun alone doesn’t get them where they need to be.
Blue Jackets Still Want This, But Road Is Unclear Now
Elliotte Friedman is reporting that the Columbus Blue Jackets are annoyed by the Bruins’ deal with the Capitals because they believe they had a deal done with the Bruins to move Vladislav Gavrikov. Aaron Portzline of The Athletic writes:
The Blue Jackets wanted to get the Gavrikov trade done well ahead of the trade deadline, two sources told The Athletic, so that they could potentially flip the first-round pick from Boston in a trade with Arizona for defenseman Jakob Chychrun.source – ‘Blue Jackets trade involving Vladislav Gavrikov falls through — so now what?’ – Aaron Portzline – The Athletic – 02/23/2023
Obviously, the Bruins’ deal with Washington hasn’t changed the Blue Jackets’ interest in Chychrun. What it does change is the road to getting that trade done. If Columbus can’t find a team to give a first-rounder for Gavirkov, they aren’t likely in the Chychrun mix.