One of the ongoing talking points this summer when it comes to the Arizona Coyotes has been the future of Jakob Chychrun. A trade has been expected for some time now, yet with training camp opening this week, the defenseman is still a part of the organization that drafted him 16th overall in 2016. Recently, general manager Bill Armstrong discussed the situation and called Chychrun a “pro’s pro” in regard to how he has handled all of the speculation.
Today, Chychrun spoke directly with the media, including PHNX Sports, about what has happened so far. The team approached him at the beginning of last season about whether he wanted a trade to a more competitive situation, and Chychrun (after discussing it with his family) decided to take them up on the offer.
I don’t want these years to keep going by, and be ten, twelve years in the league not having a real good chance or shot at, not only at the playoffs, but winning the Stanley Cup…
…I think the team understands that mutual position right now for me to get moved on to a situation with a chance to win, a team that is fighting for the Stanley Cup. And for them here to get assets. I understand how rebuilds work, and I think it could be mutually beneficial.
The candid nature of Chychrun today was surprising, yet it wasn’t much of a shock to hear that he is looking for a more competitive atmosphere. The Coyotes have leaned heavily into a rebuild, trading away nearly all of their successful players from recent years, and now look set to ice a roster mostly made up of NHL cast-offs or reclamation projects. The likes of Andrew Ladd, Zack Kassian, Nick Ritchie, Nick Bjugstad, Patrik Nemeth, and Shayne Gostisbehere are all expected to be regulars, not exactly the Stanley Cup contender that Chychrun mentions.
That said, it’s hard to know exactly when a deal will be reached. This situation is similar to one that played out in Colorado a few years ago, when Matt Duchene had made it clear that he didn’t want to go through another season with the Avalanche like the 22-win 2016-17 campaign. There were rumors all summer about where he would go but when training camp arrived, he showed up and went about his work. Duchene played 14 games for the Avalanche before a deal was worked out with the Ottawa Senators and Nashville Predators, one that ended up bringing back Samuel Girard and several other pieces (including one that became Bowen Byram).
That’s the mutually beneficial part, as a trade of Chychrun is likely to collect several important assets for the Coyotes, ones that can help them more down the road than he will be able to–despite still being just 24. With three years (including this one) on his deal, the team should be able to demand quite a haul of futures.
One complicating factor may be Chychrun’s health, which, according to Craig Morgan of PHNX Sports, is still a question mark. The defenseman had bone spurs removed from his ankle in the summer in addition to wrist surgery, and there is not yet a timeline for getting back on the ice.