It’s been seven games now since Jakob Chychrun returned for the Arizona Coyotes, and if interested teams wanted to see proof that he can still be an impact player, he’s done everything they need. The 24-year-old defenseman is averaging 22:25 in ice time on the year and has three goals and six points in those seven games. Granted, six of the seven contests have been losses, but that likely has to do more with his teammates than his individual performance.
I still think there is aprehension among clubs with the most interest to pay the price that Bill Armstrong and the Coyotes are looking for. But I also think there is a group of teams that are getting to the point they realize they may have to.
Armstrong has maintained a high price for Chychrun going back to last season, despite the defenseman’s public admission that he wants to be traded to a contender. That’s because he isn’t just a rental. Chychrun is signed through the 2024-25 season at a reasonable $4.6MM cap hit, though the actual salary owed will continue to increase. While that might sound like a lot, it puts him 65th among active defensemen in the league, tied with Jamie Oleksiak of the Seattle Kraken and just ahead of players like Shayne Gostisbehere, Tyson Barrie, and Nikita Zaitsev.
Several teams around the league are dealing with significant injuries to their defense corps, and others have just seen their players struggle. The Edmonton Oilers, for instance, have been looking for a top-end defenseman as Dreger suggests in the same piece, referencing Evan Bouchard’s recent benching. Biding his time appears to have worked perfectly for Armstrong, who can now just wait until a team is desperate enough to meet his high asking price.
The Coyotes, meanwhile, are losing even with Chychrun in the lineup, and are doing just fine in their pursuit of the first-overall pick. There’s no rush on their end, even if he does have a no-trade clause that comes into effect next summer. At this point, it’s hard to see the young defenseman blocking a trade anywhere as long as it gets him closer to another playoff appearance.