WWYDW(TE): Meeting the Coyotes’ ask for Jakob Chychrun
Photo credit:© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis1 month ago
Jakob Chychrun had done nothing but increase his trade value since making his season debut back on November 21.
The 24-year-old defender has been on the block for over a year now but troubles staying on the ice have gotten in the way of anybody pulling the trigger on a deal. Chychrun’s 2021-22 season came to an end in March and teams unsurprisingly wanted to wait to see how he looked upon his return from two different off-season surgeries.
So far, so good. Through 15 games this season, Chychrun has scored three goals and 13 points while logging an average of 22:11 per game. He also has a 16-to-8 goal differential while on the ice at even strength, an impressive result considering how bad the Coyotes are.
The Coyotes have always had a high asking price for Chychrun, which makes sense because they’re really in no rush to move him. While it’s known that Chychrun would like to leave Arizona’s rebuilding situation to play on a contending team, he hasn’t made a big public stink about wanting out and he’s under control for two more seasons after this one on a contract with a very reasonable $4.6 million salary cap hit.
The report about the Coyotes’ ask for Chychrun is that they’re looking for a quality young player, a prospect, a first-round draft pick, and another mid-round pick. From an Edmonton Oilers perspective, a trade for Chychrun would surely involve one of Dylan Holloway or Philip Broberg along with other draft picks and prospects.
Should Ken Holland meet that ask? Would Chychrun be enough of a game-changer for the Oilers to be worth giving up that much? Let’s go through both arguments…
Nov 27, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Philip Broberg (86) warms up before a game against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Why they shouldn’t do it…
The price is very high and Chychrun might not be the established top defender that the Oilers need.
There’s a lot to like about Chychrun’s game. He’s big, he’s skilled, he’s smart, and he’s produced at a high level. But he’s also never played in a high-pressure environment like Edmonton and he’s also dealt with some major injuries in his career.
It’s incredibly important in the salary cap era to constantly be funnelling cheap, young talent into a team’s roster. Moving a quality young player like Dylan Holloway or Philip Broberg along with a top selection in one of the deepest draft classes in recent memories would hemorrhage a lot of cheap depth that the Oilers need in the coming years.
If you’re going to give up that much in a trade, the player coming back needs to be a game-changer. Chychrun is talented, there’s no doubt. But can he stay healthy? Can he perform under pressure? Does he have the ability to be a game-changer?
The Oilers might be able to find a defender better suited for the team’s needs for less. Vladislav Gavrikov, for example, is a very good defensive defenceman who the Columbus Blue Jackets will surely be looking to trade before he can walk as a free agent this summer. He has the experience of shutting things down in the playoffs and he won’t cost as much to acquire.
Why they should do it…
The window is right now. It’s time to go for it.
The Oilers have Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl signed for two more seasons after this one at $21 million combined. Draisaitl is set to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career following the 2024-25 season and McDavid will be able to hit the open market the year after that. Beyond those two, the core of this team isn’t getting any younger. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins turns 30 years old in April, Zach Hyman turns 31 years old in June, and Evander Kane turns 32 years old in August.
Edmonton’s biggest need right now is a quality defenceman in their top four who can help take some of the load off of Darnell Nurse’s plate. Chychrun is a modern-day two-way defender who tilts things in the right direction when he’s on the ice. He can generate offence by making strong outlet passes and by joining the rush. He also reads the play very well in his own zone and has the size and strength to win battles along the boards and in front of the net.
The cost of acquisition is certainly high but the Oilers have done a solid job at stocking their prospect cupboards over the past few years. Ken Holland hasn’t moved a first-round pick or a top prospect in a mid-season, win-now deal, and neither did Peter Chiarelli before him. The last time the Oilers made such a move was back in 2006 when Kevin Lowe acquired Dwayne Roloson.
Philip Broberg, who would likely be going back to Arizona the other way, has all of the tools to become a quality defender in the NHL. The hope is that he could become as good as Jakob Chychrun is one day, but Chychrun is already Chychrun.
What say you, Nation? Should the Oilers meet Arizona’s ask and pull the trigger on a trade for Jakob Chychrun? Is he the game-changer on the blueline that the team needs? Or should they look elsewhere? Let us know!
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