NHL Rumor Mill – August 18, 2022
MORE RUMORS LINKING CHYCHRUN TO THE SENATORS
THE WALLY AND METHOT SHOW: Brent Wallace reported earlier this week that he’s been told the Ottawa Senators remain in pursuit of Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. “There have been talks this week,” tweeted Wallace, who indicated the Coyotes’ asking price remains “two 1st round picks and a high-end prospect plus Arizona would also take (Nikita) Zaitsev.
TSN’s Shawn Simpson reported the Coyotes asking price for Chychrun was huge at the trade deadline and at the draft. He’s sure other teams are interested in the 24-year-old Coyotes blueliner but everyone knows “Ottawa wants the player, and the player would prefer the Sens.” Simpson believes the Senators should offer nothing more than “a top D prospect, a 1st and a 2nd.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s worth remembering why the Coyotes are setting such a high asking price.
There’s plenty of interest in Chychrun despite his injury history. Teams look at what he’s capable of when healthy, as well as his youth and reasonable $4.6 million annual salary-cap hit through 2024-25, and see him as a good fit.
Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong is rebuilding his roster. He’s got a valuable trade chip in Chychrun but he’s under no pressure to move the blueliner. Chychrun has three more seasons on his contract at an affordable cap hit. There’s no indication he’s requested a trade. Even if he did, he still must go out and perform to the best of his ability with the Coyotes until a club steps up to meet Armstrong’s price.
The Coyotes’ asking for Zaitsev is to replace Chychrun on the blueline and on their cap payroll. That’s assuming, of course, that they aren’t on his 10-team no-trade list. Trading Chychrun would put them under this season’s $61 million cap minimum.
Zaitsev has a $4.5 million average annual value through 2023-24, though in actual salary he’ll earn $2.5 million this season as the Senators already paid his $2 million signing bonus for this season. That’s much more palatable for the Coyotes.
As for those draft picks, the Coyotes possess nine picks between rounds two and four in 2024 and four second-rounders in 2025. However, they have just one first-round pick in each of the next three rounds and just one extra third-rounder in 2023. Armstrong would prefer a couple of extra firsts.
It’s possible Chychrun gets traded before the coming season begins in October. The Senators could be his destination. But unless Armstrong lowers his price or a team steps up to meet the current one, don’t be surprised if Chychrun’s suiting up with the Coyotes on opening night.
LATEST ON THE CANUCKS
CHEK-TV’s Rick Dhaliwal recently reported player agent Brian Bartlett isn’t concerned about how big a story it could be for client J.T. Miller to report to Vancouver Canucks training camp without a contract extension. He claims the 29-year-old center is looking forward to camp next month and doesn’t believe his client’s contract will be a distraction.
The two sides haven’t discussed a new contract since the draft in Montreal last month. The Canucks haven’t given Bartlett permission to speak with other teams about an extension. He indicated he hasn’t spoken to Miller about cutting off contract talks with the Canucks once the regular season begins but doesn’t rule out the possibility.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller is due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Based on comments made to the media earlier this summer by Miller and Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford, it doesn’t appear that the two sides will reach an agreement before the season begins. While Miller would like to stay and management wants to keep him, both sides seem resigned that this season will be his last in Vancouver.
Dhaliwal also reported agent Darren Ferris has been granted permission by the Canucks to talk to other teams about a trade for client Michael DiPietro. A source told Dhaliwal there is interest in the 23-year-old goaltender and there is a deal that could make sense for the Canucks.
UPDATE ON SANDIN
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox reports contract talks aren’t going anywhere between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Rasmus Sandin. Agent Lewis Gross said he can’t answer why talks are at a standstill for his client.
Leafs GM Kyle Dubas declined to comment other than to indicate via text that negotiating contracts through the media “do not create resolutions to private matters.” Fox indicates factors such as money, term and Sandin’s role with the Leafs are in play here. It’s believed the Leafs have offered him a deal similar to teammate Timothy Liljegren’s two-year, $2.8 million bridge contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fox also pointed out the Leafs have limited salary-cap space right now. They’ll have to create some cap space if they hope to get Sandin under contract before the start of the coming season.