NHL Rumor Mill – December 16, 2021
Should the Oilers pursue Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun? Is it time for the Islanders or Rangers to make trades? Read on for the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.
UPDATED ON JAKOB CHYCHRUN
THE JEFF MAREK SHOW: Marek and Elliotte Friedman discussed the possibility of the Arizona Coyotes shopping Jakob Chychrun. The 23-year-old defenseman was considered untouchable but Friedman recently speculated the Coyotes could entertain offers.
Friedman indicated Chychrun has not requested a trade. However, the Coyotes know their current rebuild can’t be easy on the blueliner while he’s in the prime of his career. They also know his value will never be higher than it is right now. Most observers also understand the decline in his stats this season is reflective of the club and not his performance.
General manager Bill Armstrong declined to comment but Friedman said the Coyotes are taking calls. The asking price is massive but it’s not scaring off interested parties because of the overall circumstances involving Chychrun’s affordable contract and the Coyotes rebuilding process.
Discussing the slumping Edmonton Oilers needs later in the conversation, Friedman felt Chychrun could help address their need for a left-shot defenseman. Marek suggested the Montreal Canadiens Ben Chiarot or the Coyotes’ Shayne Gostisbhere but Friedman believes Chychrun would be the better add because of the three years remaining on his contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chychrun would be a fine addition to any NHL team’s blueline. There are some teams that have the assets (draft picks, prospects, young NHL-ready players) to entice the Coyotes.
However, I don’t think the Oilers can afford that asking price, let alone outbid rival clubs to land Chychrun. Cap Friendly also shows them maxed out on cap space so they’ll have to clear around $4 million to comfortably absorb Chychrun’s contract. And no, I don’t see the Coyotes absorbing any portion of his cap hit. I also think addressing their goaltending is the Oilers’ most pressing issue.
LATEST ON THE ISLANDERS AND RANGERS
THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple recently wondered if New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello will make a move to bolster his club’s sagging fortunes. He feels the club needs to string some wins together to justify an addition, even a short-term one that costs assets.
Staple believes the Isles’ priority would be adding a left-shot defenseman and a top-nine winger. Blueline options could include Montreal’s Ben Chiarot, the Chicago Blackhawks’ Calvin de Haan, perhaps the Seattle Kraken’s Mark Giordano or the Ottawa Senators’ Nick Holden.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speculation suggests the Canadiens could get a first-round pick for Chiarot but I don’t see Lamoriello taking that plunge. I’m not convinced yet the Kraken will shop Giordano but if they do it’ll likely be at the March trade deadline, which would be too late to save the Isles’ season. Maybe the Blackhawks made de Haan available but they could also wait until the deadline. Holden could be the easiest to get but I don’t think he’d move the dial much for the Isles.
Staple also mused over whether the New York Rangers need to bring in some additional scoring. He has nothing against Julien Gauthier or Dryden Hunt but pointed out they haven’t been able to stick as top-nine forwards prior to this season.
The Rangers’ fast start means there’s no pressing need to address this issue. Staple speculated Rangers GM Chris Drury can afford to remain patient and wait until more teams stop shopping players on expiring contracts.
Possible targets could include the Coyotes’ Phil Kessel, the Los Angeles Kings’ Dustin Brown, the Dallas Stars’ Joe Pavelski or the San Jose Sharks’ Tomas Hertl.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel is the most likely of that group to be available. Pavelski has indicated his preference to stay with the Stars beyond this season and I think the Stars will try to accommodate him on a short-term deal. I don’t see the Kings parting with Brown. Ditto the Sharks with Hertl if they’re still in playoff contention.