Oilers’ Broberg Is Most Logical Trade Piece for Chychrun

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun has been in the rumour mill the last few months. Trade speculation increased on Sept. 21 when he said in an interview that he was open to being traded, so that he could play for a team that can compete for a playoff spot.

TSN’s Darren Dreger added fuel to the fire last Thursday. In the Insider Trading segment, he listed a few teams with reported interest in the 24-year-old defenseman and mentioned the Edmonton Oilers as a team, among many, in the mix. Dreger doubled down last Friday and tweeted that Edmonton has expressed interest and stayed in communication with those involved.

Dreger mentioned the Coyotes’ asking price has softened, and they’re willing to take on contracts. Still, a first-round draft pick, and a prospect would have to be involved. The Hockey WritersJim Parsons recently wrote that Edmonton should be in to acquire Chychrun and he listed Broberg as a trade chip. With that in mind, we take a deeper look at why Broberg should be the main trade piece that the Oilers should offer for Chychrun.

Chychrun Is a Good Player on a Poor Coyotes Team

Chychrun was drafted 16th overall in the 2016 NHL Draft, and in his six seasons as a member of the Coyotes, he’s only played in the playoffs once. His best season came in 2020-21 when he scored a career-high 18 goals, and 23 assists in 56 games and earned Norris Trophy votes. He had a down year last season, only appearing in 47 games and tallying 21 points in that span. The underlying analytics weren’t impressive, with a 47.65 Corsi (CF%), 46.14 SF% (percentage of total shots while that player is on the ice), and 39.56 GF% (percentage of total goals while that player is on the ice), but at the same time, he had more starts in the defensive zone (196), than the offensive zone (133). Moreover, Arizona simply wasn’t a good team last season, finishing last in the Western Conference with a minus-106 goal differential.

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

Interestingly, according to Natural Stat Trick, the forward he played most against last season at 5-on-5 was the Oilers’ Leon Draisaitl. The forward he played the third-most minutes against at even-strength was Connor McDavid, followed by Jamie Benn, Dustin Brown, and Tyler Seguin, in that order. In saying that, it shows that the Coyotes do not hesitate to play him against the opposition’s top players.

It’s well known that he’s battled injuries throughout his career, but Chychrun is just entering his prime and a change of scenery could be good for him. What makes him an attractive potential acquisition is that he’s an excellent puck mover, he has good size at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, and makes a cap-friendly $4.6 million average annual value for the next three seasons.

Oilers’ Broberg Makes Most Sense as Trade Chip for Chychrun

The Athletic’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman tweeted that an Edmonton team source said Chychrun would be “too rich for our blood,” but also mentioned things could change. After all, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Chychrun is currently sidelined with an injury, but the Oilers’ interest in the veteran defenseman might increase once he’s set to return to game action.

The Oilers have a plethora of trade chips that they could offer, but you have to give quality to get quality. The Coyotes reportedly want a first-round draft pick and a top prospect, and the Oilers’ top-three players in the pipeline are Dylan Holloway, Xavier Bourgault, and Broberg — out of the three, the Swedish defenseman makes the most sense as the main piece going the other way, from an organizational standpoint. Holloway has made an impact in training camp and looks to be highly effective this season and Bourgault will provide secondary scoring in the future on a cheap entry-level contract. At the same time, in the hypothetical scenario that they traded for Chychrun, they’d be bringing in a defenseman, thus leaving Broberg as the odd man out.

Philip Broberg Edmonton Oilers
Philip Broberg, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Broberg was drafted eighth-overall in the 2019 NHL Draft. But before being drafted, The Hockey Writers viewed him as one of the most complete defensemen in the draft. He has elite skating ability and the potential to become a top-three defenseman. One can argue that giving up the Swedish defenseman is a huge risk, but let me ask a question — the Oilers head into the 2022-23 season as Stanley Cup contenders, but if the playoffs started today, who would you rather have on your roster? The veteran Chychrun with 337 NHL games under his belt, or Broberg, with 23 NHL games played? I know whom I would take — as previously mentioned, Chychrun has the ability to play against the opposition’s top lines and has proven he can put up points at the NHL level.  

It’s a steep price to give up a future top-four pairing defenseman. But the Oilers are in win-now mode, and Chychrun is what Broberg hopefully projects to be in three to four years. However, there’s still no guarantee that he reaches his potential. General manager (GM) Ken Holland has done a good job of keeping his high picks and prospects, but it’s time to part with valuable trade chips to make the team more lethal. The time to mortgage the future for imminent, impactful help is now.

In addition, acquiring Broberg makes sense from the Coyotes’ standpoint. NHL.com listed Arizona’s top prospects in the summer, and their top four — Logan Cooley, Dylan Guenther, Conor Geekie, and Jack McBain — are all forwards. Because of that, Arizona might be more inclined to get a defenseman with high potential in return for Chychrun. They also once had a smooth-skating Swedish defenseman, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, that patrolled their blue line for 11 seasons, whom they traded in 2021. Broberg could one day fill the void left by their former captain.

A Look at the Oilers D-Corps With Chychrun

The Oilers could send a first-round draft pick, Broberg, and likely Tyson Barrie and Devin Shore, to make the money work due to low cap space. If a deal were made, the Oilers could play Ryan Murray on the right side on the third pairing, with Markus Niemelainen as the seventh defenseman and the blue line could look as follows:

Nurse – Ceci

Chychrun – Bouchard

Kulak – Murray

Niemelainen

If Barrie were traded, Bouchard would step in to fill the void on the Oilers’ number one power play, a move that should be made regardless. However, an added bonus is that Chychrun has previously run the Coyotes’ power play and could give the Oilers’ first unit a different look, being a left-handed shot, when the situation calls for it.  

Related: Oilers in on Chychrun, as They Should Be if They’re Contenders

The Oilers locked up their goalie for the future in Jack Campbell this offseason, they re-signed their scoring ace, Evander Kane, and now should be the time they go after that missing piece that can solidify their blue line, inevitably making them more dangerous for a playoff run.

Would you make that trade with the players listed? Have your say in the comments below.


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