NHL Rumor Mill – December 15, 2021
COYOTES TEST MARKET FOR CHYCHRUN
SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts”, Elliotte Friedman indicated most teams he’s spoken with said trade talks are “quiet”. However, he reported that it sounds like the Arizona Coyotes “are gauging the market on Jakob Chychrun.” Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong declined to comment on the speculation.
Friedman said the asking price is “massive” but it’s not deterring interest in the 23-year-old defenseman. He’s got three more seasons left on his contract with an annual average value of $4.6 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chychrun has just seven points in 26 games with a plus-minus of minus-29 but that’s more indicative of the weakened roster around him. He had a career-high 41 points in 56 games last season and was considered by some observers as a potential candidate for Team Canada at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Until now, all the Coyotes trade rumors claimed Chychrun was their only untouchable. Perhaps that’s changed but Armstrong could be simply curious about what the young blueliner might fetch in return. Interested clubs could try to talk him down but I think Armstrong would keep the asking price high, whatever it may be.
Armstrong isn’t in any rush to move Chychrun unless the rearguard has requested a trade and there’s no indication he has. Unless someone’s willing to pay big, Chychrun will remain a Coyote.
WHAT NEXT FOR KHUDOBIN?
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks reports the Stars sent Anton Khudobin to their AHL affiliate after he cleared waivers yesterday. The 35-year-old goaltender hadn’t played since Nov. 18 and was a healthy scratch in the Stars’ last eight games.
The Stars attempted to trade Khudobin but his performance and contract were considered deterrents. He has a 3.73 goals-against average and .873 save percentage in seven games and is signed through next season with an annual average value of $3.33 million.
A source told DeFranks some teams show an interest in Khudobin but wanted to see him play more games first. Given his current minimal trade value, the Stars might have to package him with a draft pick or absorb part of his cap hit to move him.
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski believes Khudobin would make a better backup for Penguins starter Tristan Jarry than Casey DeSmith. He pointed to Khudobin replacing sidelined Ben Bishop in the 2020 playoffs and backstopping the Stars to the Stanley Cup Final. Kingerski acknowledged the Penguins would have to shed some salary to take on Khudobin’s cap hit if the Stars won’t retain part of it.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interest in Khudobin could improve if he plays well in the AHL. His cap hit, however, will remain a sticking point for cap-strapped playoff contenders like the Penguins.