NHL Rumor Mill – December 18, 2021
SPORTSNET 590: Nick Kypreos and Justin Bourne discussed the recent speculation suggesting the Arizona Coyotes could be gauging the trade market for Jakob Chychrun. Noting the 23-year-old defenseman’s affordable contract ($4.6 million annual cap hit through 2024-25) and goal-scoring ability, Kypreos said the Toronto Maple Leafs are among the clubs with an interest in the big-minute blueliner.
Kypreos believes Chychrun could fetch “four pieces” for the Coyotes. He pointed out that was the cost to the Vegas Golden Knights to land Jack Eichel. They gave up a player (Alex Tuch), a prospect (Peyton Krebs) and two draft picks (a first and a second) to the Buffalo Sabre for Eichel.
GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan believes Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong is probably listening to offers rather than actively shopping Chychrun. He noted the New York Islanders inquired about the blueliner during the offseason.
Morgan believes the high asking price set by Armstrong indicates how much the Coyotes still value Chychrun despite the drop in his production this season. He also dismissed a rumor suggesting the defenseman and his agent requested a trade. Nevertheless, Morgan doesn’t rule out Armstrong shopping Chychrun and some of the club’s middle-core players (Clayton Keller, Nick Schmaltz, Lawson Crouse and Christian Fletcher) as the reality of the club’s rebuild starts to set in for some of them.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, Armstrong is willing to listen but interested parties should be prepared to pay a significant price to pry Chychrun away from the Coyotes. Can a cap-strapped club like the Leafs afford him? Maybe if they’re prepared to make a quality offer.
For example, if they were to pitch Arizona native Auston Matthews, Armstrong would be on that in a heartbeat. Of course, the Leafs aren’t parting with their franchise player, who’s made no indication he’s unhappy in Toronto and wants to return home.
The Leafs have maxed out their salary-cap payroll for this season so they’ll have to send the Coyotes a good player already under contract as part of the deal. They only have three picks (their first, second and seventh) in this year’s draft. Other clubs with an interest in Chychrun could be better-positioned in terms of cap space and available assets to make competitive bids.
NHL.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Dan Rosen was asked what type of trade package Filip Forsberg could command at the 2022 trade deadline if the Nashville Predators were to shop the 27-year-old left winger.
Forsberg is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Rosen believes he could fetch a better return in a sign-and-trade scenario than as a playoff rental. However, he doesn’t think trading Forsberg is the best option for the Predators given he’s a scoring winger in his playing prime. He felt the Preds should be in “win-now” mode and re-sign Forsberg.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Re-signing Forsberg would be expensive. He’s earning an annual average value of $6 million on his current deal and could seek $8 million annually on his next contract. That could prove too costly for the Predators.
GM David Poile could shop Forsberg at the trade deadline if the two are unable to reach an agreement on a contract extension by then. However, I think they’ll keep him as an “own rental” if they’re still in the thick of the playoff chase as they are right now.