The Trade Deadline is still over a month away, but that hasn’t stopped activity from slowly beginning to increase across the league. That trend doesn’t appear to be stopping, as multiple big names are still on the market and could be moved prior to the deadline. One of those names is Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun, who’s probably the best defenseman available.
Trade talk has surrounded Chychrun all throughout this season, as a tough year for the Coyotes has meant a tough year for him personally on the ice. Now, The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta reports that there’s an “increased level of activity” surrounding Chychrun trade discussions, and it appears as though the Los Angeles Kings are the current frontrunner in those talks.
While it’s obviously impossible to predict a return, Pagnotta reports that sources indicate the Coyotes are interested in a package from Los Angeles that includes prospect Gabriel Vilardi. Selected 11th overall back in 2017, Vilardi’s struggled with injury during his development process but looked at home in L.A. last season with 23 points in 54 games. With just one assist in 7 NHL games this season, though, he’s been spending a lot of time with the AHL’s Ontario Reign. There, he’s chugging along with 29 points in 29 games, a positive indicator there.
The Kings currently sit with 59 points and the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. While the team’s received strong play from Drew Doughty, Matt Roy, and Sean Durzi on the right side defensively, their left side lacks a higher-end, experienced NHL defenseman. While Chychrun is just 23, he’s at least been in the league for a few seasons and even has some brief playoff experience under his belt. There’s a natural fit for him atop the defensive depth chart on a pairing with Doughty, a situation that could help him rediscover the offensive side of his game.