Lately, there’s been plenty of discussion regarding the availability of Arizona Coyotes defenceman Jakob Chychrun, who’d largely benefit from getting out of the desert.
Ever since Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet wrote about how general manager Bill Armstrong is “gauging” the young two-way defenceman’s market, that same buzz has only intensified. So what’s the deal here?
Well, teams across the National Hockey League would be foolish not to kick tires on a quality defenceman like Chychrun, who’s just 23-years-old. He’s played more than 300 NHL games and is averaging 24:50 minutes per game. Better yet, the 6’2″ blueliner features a team-friendly $4.6 million cap hit through 2024-25.
If you are reading this and thinking, “Wait… doesn’t Chychrun have a -53 lifetime goal differential? Yeah, you’d be right in that case, but he plays for the Coyotes, who’ve only won 24 per cent of their games this season.
Have you seen this guy play? He’s the real deal and would surely take the Winnipeg Jets to another level. So let’s see if it’d make sense to acquire him.
Why Would This Work?
If I’m being honest, I think the Jets have only played four complete games this season – that’s not good enough. Generally, a blockbuster trade at this time of year is fairly uncommon and is usually done to kick start a team.
For Winnipeg, however, their boost came in the form of a head coaching chance, with Dave Lowry taking over on an interim status for Paul Maurice. While that’s all and good, this team still needs some additional scoring from their backend. 30 combined assists between Nate Schmidt and Neal Pionk are massive and definitely shouldn’t be overlooked, but the Jets are still lacking goals from the point.
Since the start of the shortened 2020-21 season, Jets defenders have scored just 18 goals, that’s it. During the same amount of time, Chychun has scored 20 by himself on a team that’s one of the worst in the league. Pocketing goals is something this club needs from the blue line. Could you imagine receiving 20 goals from a single defenceman?
The Jets have some money to play with, at least, in the short term with captain Blake Wheeler being placed on the long-term injury reserve. In total, there’s approximately $6.96 million in LTIR relief pool to spend, according to PuckPedia.com. If Wheeler remains sidelined through the remainder of the regular season, the front office might as well use it to acquire an elite defensive scorer.
If you’re thinking, “But the Jets need more defensive defencemen.” Then you’re unaware of Chychrun’s defensive skills, which are extremely impressive. This season, he’s starting in the defensive zone 44.5 per cent of the time at 5-on-5 and has been on the ice for 31 goals against. In comparison, he was only on the ice for 43 goals against at 5-on-5 in 56 games last season.
So while those numbers don’t look great this year, when you look at the bigger picture, Chychrun would certainly be a guy the Jets would want to acquire.
What’s the Trade?
Since the Coyotes are a rebuilding team, they don’t need veteran skaters, they need youth and draft picks. If I’m going to be an armchair general manager – bear with me here – I’d be willing to move next year’s first-round pick (2022), a 2023 fourth-round pick, Logan Stanley and Dylan Samberg.
I’d simply move on from Stanley to make space on Winnipeg’s roster for Chychrun, and also so the towering blueliner wouldn’t be limited to a part-time role. In turn, he’d likely occupy a top-four role in Arizona.
Granted, that’d be four huge subtractions from the Jets, but they’re currently in a win-now mode and I think grabbing a 200-foot defender could allow them to take the next step in becoming a legitimate championship contender.
Is This Just Wishful Thinking? Or Something Else?
On just about every level, I believe this trade makes sense for the Jets, especially if Wheeler doesn’t return until the playoffs. There’s no question about it, Chychrun would make this team extraordinarily better.
If it doesn’t work out, the Jets should be able to get some decent pieces back in a second trade. But as long as he’s utilized properly, which would ideally be beside Pionk, that scenario shouldn’t come to pass.
So yeah, I think the Jets should go all-in on Chychrun and put all their chips in the middle of the table.
If you want to trade for Chychrun, what pieces would you send the other way in order to acquire his services? Let me know in the comments below.