Jakob Chychrun Update: February 13
Elliotte Friedman provided the latest on Jakob Chychrun on Monday’s 32 Thoughts podcast, suggesting LA and Arizona have a deal in the works but it has possibly hit a snag. He also mentions the possibility that other suitors have re-engaged with the Coyotes in trade talks for the defenseman’s services.
As it heated up on Saturday and Sunday, I think everybody was thinking LA was the team. I think LA is in the driver’s seat. But I kept getting warned, “It is not close.” I am afraid to say this because things can change at any time, but I think at some time between the Kings and Coyotes, there was a snag. That doesn’t mean it is impossible. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen. I do think there was some kind of snag.
What the snag may have been: The Kings and the Coyotes were talking about a contract that needed to be moved, and they couldn’t agree. I don’t think it was a principal member of the trade, but I think it was an ancillary member of the trade. The two sides couldn’t agree on it. I think it stalled the trade a little bit.
Does that mean it can’t happen? No. I don’t think it means that. I think it could still potentially happen, but I do think it gummed up the works for a little bit. That is where I think we are.
That doesn’t mean it can’t be resuscitated. It may have been smart for the Coyotes to do this. Because they held Chychrun out of the game and because they tweeted what they did, I wonder if it has re-engaged some other teams.
I think there are some other teams that are like, “Okay, this is in the final stages here. Let’s see if we can get back in it.” I think it is possible that’s happened, which only clouds all of this.
I do believe the Kings and Coyotes were serious. I do believe there are serious conversations between them. I do think it is still possible. I don’t think it [includes] Brandt Clarke or Quinton Byfield. One of the potential problems was a contract that needed to be moved and they couldn’t work it out.
That is my best guess at where we are as of Sunday night… I do believe other teams re-engaged, and we will see where they go here. They play Monday night against Nashville, and we’ll see if he is in the lineup.
… I also wonder if it was a situation where the trade was not done, but they knew it was a possibility, and they weren’t going to risk it. Chychrun is a guy who has had a lot of injuries. I think it was sort of like, “We’re talking. We don’t know if this trade is necessarily going to happen, but it could happen, so we are playing it safe.” They weren’t lying, but it wasn’t necessarily right on the edge of happening.
… I don’t think we are going to know until this is actually done. Let’s see if it happens later Monday. Let’s see if Chychrun plays Monday night. Let’s see where we are.
I don’t think the Coyotes are necessarily pulling a fast one on anyone here. I think there were legitimate trade conversations. Usually, when that happens, the deal is done the next day. Maybe everyone wanted to watch the Superbowl and no one wanted to ruin the parties. But it isn’t done yet. That doesn’t mean it won’t get done, but I just think something held this up.
On the Daily Faceoff Rundown, Frank Seravalli suggested that the Coyotes may be willing to retain on Chychrun’s $4.6 million AAV contract (signed for two more years) in order to achieve their asking price.
I do believe the team that was in on it was LA. Their interest in Chychrun has gone back a long time. We have talked a lot about whether the Coyotes will get their asking price or not. It is either two first-round picks and a prospect or a first-round pick, a grade-A prospect (or first-round pick equivalent), and a prospect.
Last year, I believe the Kings offered Gabe Vilardi and a first-round pick for Jakob Chychrun last summer. Vilardi has been pretty impressive this year, plus the first. That wasn’t enough to get it done then.
I don’t know who was involved this time around. I don’t know why it has been on hold. I don’t even know if it is still active anymore. There is a chance that it is not, and this has died on the vine.
To give you some perspective as to why it may happen, usually when you are deep enough in talks and both sides are pretty comfortable with where it is heading, one manager will say to the other, “We have a game tonight. Would you like this player to sit it out to protect him? He is going to be your asset. It is your call.” It is usually the GM that doesn’t have the player that would make that decision.
When the Coyotes went down that path, obviously, something is close. There is no doubt about that. The question is: How close? Why are we still on Monday and a trade hasn’t been consummated?
I don’t know the answer to that. I always allow for the possibility that another team may have entered the fray — especially when you send out that tweet. Maybe they were in the process of circling back to all of the teams in the mix and saying, “Hey, we are holding this player out.” All of a sudden, your phone starts ringing, and it’s, “What are you getting? Can I beat it?”
Jakob Chychrun makes $4.6 million this year and next. The people I talk to around the league suggest the Coyotes are willing to retain money on Chychrun. Part of the reason for that: They need to spend money anyway. It has never been an issue getting to the floor, but they are never going to be hitting the cap. They have the space. People think it could vault them into the world of their asking price they were initially thinking of that they haven’t gotten yet.
Here's what coach André Tourigny told Adam Vingan about Jakob Chychrun in Nashville (I am not on the road):
“He will remain out of the lineup until something happens.” https://t.co/d9hy8WZwNu
— Craig Morgan (@CraigSMorgan) February 13, 2023
The following report is from Saturday, February 11
Jakob Chychrun is sitting out tonight’s Coyotes game for explicitly stated “trade-related reasons” as mixed reports file in as to whether the Maple Leafs are involved.
Leafs and Oilers are among teams that have stepped up their efforts on Chychrun. https://t.co/Zpo2yptmTv
— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) February 12, 2023
Yesterday @RealKyper on his show with @jtbourne suggested that the @MapleLeafs were going hard after Chychrun dangling Knies and NOT a first round pick in 23 + one of Sandin or Liljegren plus some other pick… 🤔 https://t.co/EA7npx6WY6
— jonah (@yyzsportsmedia) February 12, 2023
This is, of course, no guarantee the Leafs are going to win a multi-team (LA, EDM, BOS, TOR, and more), multi-year bidding war in which Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong has apparently been driving a hard bargain. While there are conflicting reports surfacing, it was interesting to see The Athletic’s Oilers reporter rule out Edmonton tonight:
Doesn’t sound like Chychrun is going to the Oilers or the Kings. https://t.co/WWBI16H8YS
— Daniel Nugent-Bowman (@DNBsports) February 12, 2023
On the 32 Thoughts segment of Saturday’s HNIC broadcast, Jeff Marek reported denials of an imminent trade from multiple teams, including the Leafs:
Here is what we can tell you: We have been told “definitely no” it is not the Edmonton Oilers. The Maple Leafs have said it is not them. The LA Kings are throwing cold water on this one. I am not saying it is not true, but let’s keep in mind it is Dustin Brown night in Los Angeles. They are unveiling the statue and retiring #23. We will see where this one goes.
Here are the rumoured trade demands as per Elliotte Friedman’s report last month:
“The Coyotes want two first-round picks plus in a package, whether it is two first-round picks or the kind of prospect that basically equals a first-round pick.
A person told me the biggest hurdle is the second first-round pick or the second first-round pick type of player. A source told me that teams are willing to do the first-round pick and a prospect.
Teams are willing to part with one first-rounder, but the problem is the second first-round pick or second first-rounder type thing.”
Hypothetically speaking, if you’re interpreting this negotiation framework from the Leafs perspective (just for conversation’s sake), Armstrong may be demanding a Matthew Knies + first-round pick kind of package, and Dubas’ desired price point might be based around a first-round pick OR Knies plus additional assets, but not both Knies AND a first-round pick.
While Dubas ruled out moving either of those assets in a deal for a rental player, the Leafs GM would almost certainly be open to moving a significant package of futures if it makes sense short and long-term when looking at the contention window for the team’s current core.
A 24-year-old legitimate top-pair defenseman who makes $4.6 million for the next two seasons, who has experience playing both sides of the ice, and who can produce 50+ points when healthy (including a significant power-play presence with his shot) certainly fits that profile.
There's only one defenceman in the league who ranks top-3 at both skating the puck out of the defensive zone & into the offensive zone, per 20 at 5v5 – Chychrun.
Pair that skating / puck moving ability with physical play, great defensive stick & modest cap hit, a lot to like. https://t.co/pMyVxbJTOD
— Mike Kelly (@MikeKellyNHL) February 12, 2023
Near term, he is a needle-moving upgrade to the Leafs’ top four as Toronto faces a murder’s row of a divisional playoff path through Tampa and Boston. In regards to longer-term succession planning, Jake Muzzin’s ability to continue his playing career is in serious doubt, Justin Holl is a pending UFA, TJ Brodie is entering the final year of his contract next season, and Mark Giordano will be playing the final year of his deal at the age of 40 in 2023-24. The fit makes all kinds of sense in that context.
The only points of reservation — besides the acquisition cost — is the concern about Chychrun’s lengthy injury rap sheet that includes ACL surgery on both knees, a shoulder surgery, and a litany of other ailments. His career-high in games played is 68, which dates back to his rookie year. He’s played just 47 and 56 games in the last two seasons.
Plugged-in Arizona beat reporter Craig Morgan has suggested a trade is not imminent at this time, but he could see it happening before the Coyotes play the Nashville Predators on Monday night. Kevin Weekes also suggested tonight that the situation remains fluid and no deal is imminent.