NHL Rumor Mill – February 8, 2022
Should the Canadiens, Kings or Ducks attempt to acquire Jakob Chychrun? What’s the latest on the Senators? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
LATEST CHYCHRUN SPECULATION
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites an NHL source claiming the Canadiens made plenty of calls during the recent All-Star break to gauge the trade market ahead of the March 21 deadline. The sources speculated they could be looking at more of a retool than a rebuild with player-for-player and money-for-money deals.
Murphy wondered if the Canadiens might try to get into the bidding for Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. They’re expected to part with two left-side blueliners in Ben Chiarot and Brett Kulak before the trade deadline and could also move right-shot Jeff Petry.
The issue is the Coyotes seek a first-round pick as part of the return for Chychrun. The Canadiens don’t want to go into this year’s draft (which they’re hosting) without a first-rounder. Murphy’s source suggests it might be possible if the Canadiens acquire an additional first-round pick and include that in a pitch to the Coyotes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s an interesting premise though we don’t know if that fits in with whatever plans the Canadiens new management has in store for this club. No way they’ll part with their first-round pick. It was supposed to go to the Coyotes as part of last summer’s Christian Dvorak deal but the Habs are now all but assured of retaining it given the conditions of the trade tied to their lowly position in the standings. If they do pursue Chychrun they could attempt to get the Coyotes to take on a salaried player to reduce some payroll.
Murphy suggested Jonathan Drouin, who has a year remaining at $5.25 million. However, the Coyotes could be on his three-team no-trade list plus they might prefer a player who’s not going to bolt on them via free agency next year.
THE ATHLETIC: Lisa Dillman examined the pros and cons of the Los Angeles Kings potentially acquiring Chychrun. While he could provide experienced depth to their top-four defense, there are concerns about the drop-off in his performance this season after a career-best effort in 2020-21. Still, he could be worth the risk if the asking price is reasonable and doesn’t include top prospect Quinton Byfield.
In a recent mailbag segment, Eric Stephens was asked if acquiring Chychrun would make sense for the Anaheim Ducks if they’re unable to sign pending free agent Hampus Lindholm to a contract extension. He believes the Coyotes blueliner’s affordable contract and puck-moving skills could make him a good replacement for Lindholm. However, the Coyotes aren’t under pressure to move Chychrun and their asking price could be costly.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s some conjecture suggesting Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong wouldn’t want to ship Chychrun to a division or conference rival. Subsequent reports, however, dispute this, which only makes sense as Armstrong shouldn’t turn down a terrific offer simply because it comes from the Kings or Ducks.
For now, we don’t know if those two clubs have made a pitch for Chychrun but they’re both in a good position to do so. Nevertheless, they’re also not under any pressure right now to make a big move. They could prefer sticking with what they’ve got, see how this season plays out and look at Chychrun or other options via trades or free agency in the offseason.
LATEST ON THE SENATORS
TSN (via THE SCORE): Pierre LeBrun reports the Ottawa Senators were a popular target for trade phone calls in recent days. They’re expected to be sellers at the trade deadline. Possible trade chips include pending unrestricted free agents such as Chris Tierney, Zach Sanford, Nick Paul, Tyler Ennis, Josh Brown and Anton Forsberg.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun also said the Senators have an opportunity to be buyers as well because of their salary-cap space to shape their roster for next season. The Athletic’s Ian Mendes took note of general manager Pierre Dorion’s recent comments on TSN 1200 suggesting they’re in a position where they can afford to move some draft picks and prospects for immediate help.
Mendes wondered if Senators GM Pierre Dorion might kick tires on pending restricted free agents with arbitration rights this summer who could prove difficult for their current clubs to re-sign. He brought up Vancouver’s Brock Boeser, Minnesota’s Kevin Fiala and Columbus’ Patrik Laine but it could take a massive contract to convince one of those players to invest in the rebuilding Senators’ long-term future.
As for the Senators’ pending UFAs, I think they’re willing to shop all but Forsberg and Paul. They’d like to re-sign those two though they could also hit the trade block if they intend to test the market this summer.