NHL Trade Deadline Primer: This is not the time for a Jakob Chychrun trade

NHL Trade Deadline Rumors Jakob Chychrun
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The 2022 NHL Trade Deadline is Monday, March 21 at 3 p.m. ET. As we get closer to the deadline we will take a look at some individual players who could be on the move. We continue today with Arizona Coyotes defender Jakob Chychrun.

It has been pretty clear since the offseason what direction the Arizona Coyotes are taking right now. They are in a full scale rebuild that is going to tear the roster down to the bare bones while draft picks are collected at an absurd rate.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Darcy Kuemper, Conor Garland, and Christian Dvorak were all moved over the summer, and more veteran players are likely to go before the trade deadline in a few weeks. Phil Kessel seems like a given. Maybe Shayne Gostisbehere. Any other pending free agent that has an ounce of value. The Coyotes already have eight picks in the first two rounds of the 2022 NHL draft (three first-round picks and five second-round picks) and as we talked about with Kessel, that number will probably increase.

While pretty much everybody on the roster is in play in a situation like this, there is one name the Coyotes should be very hesitant to deal over the next few weeks: Defenseman Jakob Chychrun.

That is the type of trade where, if you are going to make it, you better be darn sure it is not only the right trade, but that it is going to be a resounding win for your franchise long-term.

Not only is Chychrun still only 23 years old, but he is signed long-term on a cap-friendly contract, and is a really good player. He is also having a bit of a down year. So not only do you not have to trade him right now, it is probably the absolute wrong time to even consider it.

What the return might look like

It would have to be significant not only because Chychrun represents a great value long-term (both as a player and because of his contract) but also because even with the Coyotes’ current rebuild there is absolutely no need to even consider trading him right now. He is under contract for three more full seasons after this season with a sub-$5 million salary cap hit, and his limited no-trade clause does not kick in until the 2023-24 season. That means they could still trade him at any point between now and the end of next season without any hurdle getting in their way if they really wanted to move him.

It would have to be a situation where somebody gave Arizona an offer that it absolutely could not refuse. A first-round pick and a top prospect has to be the starting point. Maybe another first-round pick. Perhaps a good NHL player (not a throw-in player, but an actual contributor). Columbus just got two first-round picks and a good young player in Adam Boqvist for Seth Jones, who was immediately re-signed to an absolutely massive contract that dwarfs Chychrun’s.

Chychrun is not only younger and cheaper against the salary cap, there is an argument to be made that he is also already better. Or at the very least, is comparable with a higher upside in the future. If somebody wants to trade for Chycrhun, Arizona has to make that team pay a lot.

The most logical landing spots

• Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Arizona Coyotes (staying put)

Boston was reportedly in the mix for Arizona’s other big name defender that it recently moved (Oliver Ekman-Larsson) but did not pay the price for him. Chychrun would be a far more intriguing option and give Boston a long-term defense duo of Chychrun and Charlie McAvoy that would be elite.

The Rangers should be active for any impact player that is available because they have the salary cap space for it right now and still need more quality depth around its top six or seven players. They also have a deep talent pool to deal from.

Los Angeles would be intriguing because the Kings are ahead of schedule in their rebuild, and while they are a strong defensive team they could use another impact player on the blue line. Like the Rangers, they also have a deep farm system to deal from.

This seems like a common sense target for Edmonton (the type of player they need, who fits in with their core’s age group, and a clear upgrade) but Ken Holland has shown no desire to make that type of move during his time in Edmonton.

Toronto will probably always be a possibility for players like this, and before you say “salary cap” just know that teams always find a way to get the player they want.

Even with all of that, Arizona is still the most likely destination.

Wild Card team: Vancouver Canucks or Detroit Red Wings

Detroit is not a playoff team this season, but they have taken major steps forward and have an outstanding young core. They also have a ton of salary cap space to work with and could build quite a defensive foundation around Moritz Seider and Chychrun if they wanted to get bold.

The Canucks and Coyotes already made one blockbuster move this year involving a defenseman (Ekman-Larsson and Conor Garland) so it would be fun to see them go back again. They still need a defense upgrade, and while Jim Rutherford is not the general manager, he is still a key part of the equation and nobody loves bold, blockbuster trades like him. Let’s get weird here.

Spot I want to see just for fun: Montreal Canadiens

Speaking of getting weird, let’s get stupid! Who says trade deadline trades have to involve teams in the playoff race? The Canadiens might be having an awful year, but Martin St. Louis has brought life back to the team and they should be in the market for real defensive upgrades this offseason. If Kris Letang hits the open market this summer you can be sure there will be some mutual interest there for a variety of reasons (Letang’s connection to Montreal; his former agent being the new general manager) but they will still need more than that, especially if they move somebody like Jeff Petry before the deadline. Chychrun would fit in to make short-term improvements and also be a long-term building block.

NHL Trade Deadline prediction

As fun as the idea of a Chychrun trade might be for contenders (or non-contenders) it just does not seem to make sense right now. The Coyotes should set an outrageously high price, and contenders probably will not be willing to match that right now. He stays in Arizona and maybe it gets explored again in the offseason or next season. The Coyotes have to keep somebody and pay somebody even if they are rebuilding.

 

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    Sabres agree with Dylan Cozens on 7-year, $49.7M extension

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    BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Sabres agreed to terms with forward Dylan Cozens on a seven-year extension worth $49.7 million.

    The team announced the contract. Cozens will count $7.1 million against the salary cap through the 2029-30 season.

    Cozens, who turns 22, is the latest core player the Sabres have extended over the past six months. Buffalo signed All-Star forward Tage Thompson for $50 million over seven seasons in August and defenseman Mattias Samuelsson to a seven-year, $30 million deal in October.

    Rasmus Dahlin, the top pick in 2020 who’s a Norris Trophy candidate and filled in for Thompson at NHL All-Star weekend, figures to be next for a big contract. He’s signed through next season and can begin talking about an extension this summer.

    Cozens, who was set to be a restricted free agent, has already set career highs with 17 goals, 26 assists and 43 points – with 30 games left in the season. The seventh pick in 2019, Cozens has 34 goals and 60 assists in 169 regular-season NHL games, all with Buffalo.

    The Sabres, led by Dahlin, Thompson, Cozens and 2021 No. 1 pick Owen Power, are contending to make the playoffs. The organization’s 11-year playoff drought dating to 2011 is by far the longest in the league.

    Stanley Cup champion Avalanche steadily returning to health

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    ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Had his coach been watching, this might have made for an anxious moment: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar catching an edge and falling in the fastest skater contest.

    Jared Bednar wasn’t tuned in, though, and had no idea what happened in the skills contest over All-Star weekend. Only that Makar emerged from his crash into the boards just fine.

    These days, things are definitely looking up for the Stanley Cup champions on the injury front. Defenseman Bowen Byram returns to the lineup, along with forward Valeri Nichushkin. Defenseman Josh Manson is creeping closer to a return. Same for captain Gabriel Landeskog, who’s yet to play this season. Forward Darren Helm is progressing, too.

    In spite of all their bumps and bruises, the Avalanche entered the All-Star break in a playoff spot. To weather the injury storm, Colorado has relied on 39 different skaters this season, a mark that’s tied for the most in a single season since the team relocated to Denver in 1995.

    “Anybody we can get back right now is huge,” said Makar, whose team kicks off a three-game trip Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

    Byram returns after being sidelined with a lower-body injury since early November. He was an integral part of their Stanley Cup run a season ago, when he led all rookies with nine assists in the postseason. Byram was off to a fast start this season – two goals and three assists in 10 games – before his injury.

    “He’s looking great. He’s buzzing out there,” Makar said of his fellow blue liner. “Hopefully it doesn’t take him too long to get back into game mode. But I think he’s a guy that can turn it on pretty quickly.”

    Byram missed a chunk of games last season as he dealt with concussion symptoms. This time, he was able to be around the team as he worked his way back.

    “I was just happy it wasn’t my head,” Byram said. “It was a lot easier to be out when you’re still feeling good and feel like yourself. … I’m just excited to get going again.”

    Count on Byram for as many minutes as necessary, too.

    “I’m 100%, so no reason to ease into it,” Byram said. “I’m confident with jumping back in.”

    Manson will join the Avalanche on the trip so he can skate with the squad. He’s been out with a lower-body injury since the start of December.

    “I do think it helps to get on the road, be around the guys,” Bednar said.

    Landeskog could be back “fairly soon,” Bednar said, but didn’t have a definitive timeline quite yet. The longtime Avalanche captain has been sidelined since knee surgery in October.

    The Avalanche entered the All-Star break on quite a roll, winning seven of their last eight. They’ve amassed 57 points, which trails Dallas (66 points at the All-Star break), Winnipeg (65) and Minnesota (58) in the Central Division.

    One thing the Avalanche are guarding against is another slow start out off the break. It happened over Christmas when the team had a few days off and promptly went 0-4-1 upon their return.

    “It’s just shifting the mentality back to game mode. No more vacation,” Makar said. “We still have a long way to go. We’re not where we want to be right now. But there’s a lot of time left.”

    Kraken add some size, acquire Jaycob Megna from San Jose

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    SEATTLE — The Seattle Kraken acquired defenseman Jaycob Megna from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a 2023 fourth-round draft pick.

    Megna is in the midst of his best season with 12 points in 48 games for the Sharks while averaging more than 19 minutes per game.

    “Jaycob has shown with his play this season that he is a responsible defenseman that can be relied on in all situations,” Seattle general manager Ron Francis said. “He provides welcome depth to our defensive group and we are happy to have him join our organization.”

    The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Megna will add some size and bulk to Seattle’s lineup. Megna ranked fifth for San Jose in both blocked shots and hits.

    Megna previously played for Anaheim for parts of three seasons between 2016-19. The 48 games played this season is a career-high for the 30-year-old.

    Seattle is tied for the lead in the Pacific Division and will return from the All-Star break beginning against the New York Islanders.

    Islanders sign Bo Horvat to 8-year deal after trading for him

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    The New York Islanders signed center Bo Horvat to an eight-year contract less than a week after acquiring him in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks.

    The team announced the contract after their first practice following the All-Star break. Horvat’s deal is worth $68 million and carries a $8.5 million salary cap hit through the 2030-31 season.

    General manager Lou Lamoriello joked to reporters at practice on Long Island that Horvat’s contract was “too long and it’s too much money.”

    The Islanders sent forward Anthony Beauvillier, prospect Aatu Raty and a protected first-round pick to the Canucks for Horvat . He was set to be an unrestricted free agent after the season, and the trade was a result of Vancouver and Horvat’s camp being unable to reach a deal last summer.

    Lamoriello and Horvat expressed confidence about getting a deal done after the trade. The 27-year-old has scored more than 30 goals for a second consecutive season.

    Horvat was chosen as an All-Star and played for the Pacific Division despite the trade. He played with longtime Canucks teammate Elias Pettersson and combined on one last goal together before parting ways.

    “I want to get going,” Horvat said after the All-Star 3-on-3 tournament. “That’s enough. Let’s start playing some games and getting to know the guys. I just want to start playing hockey again.”

    Horvat was on vacation with his family in Orlando when he was traded. He said coach Lane Lambert wanted him to enjoy All-Star festivities before getting rolling with the Islanders, who play at the Philadelphia Flyers.

    “Obviously getting my legs under me is going to be No. 1 and getting systems down and obviously chemistry with the new linemates and stuff like that,” Horvat said.

    After facing the Flyers and Seattle, Horvat will play against his former team when Vancouver visits UBS Arena.