Mentioning the market for defense in the NHL immediately brings to mind at least two things: Jakob Chychrun and the Ottawa Senators, both as they are separately, and the rumors connecting the defenseman to Canada’s capitol. With Chychrun having been on IR to finish last season and now to start this season, the rumors surrounding the 24-year-old had been a bit quieter than usual, but expected to tick up with his return on Monday.
Tonight on Hockey Night in Canada’s 32 Thoughts segment, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman seemed to confirm this inevitability, expecting talks on Chychrun to begin heating up once the defenseman returns. Another interesting note from Friedman on the Coyotes and their defensemen is the possibility of a trade involving Conor Timmins. A second-round pick in 2017, Timmins’ prospect status has never really been in question, at least for his on-ice performance. Instead, injuries have derailed the 24-year-old’s career. Now on a conditioning stint in the AHL, Timmins appears to be fully healthy and soon to be ready for NHL action, causing Friedman to wonder if Arizona might pursue a trade market for Timmins as well.
A newer name added to the defensemen speculation is San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson. Once thought to be unmovable, Karlsson is off to an incredible start, on pace to set several career-bests already, scoring 11 goals along with 17 assists in just 19 games on the season. With four years left at an $11.5MM cap hit after this season, Karlsson will be incredibly difficult for the Sharks to move even with his historic production, but it just may make doing so possible for the rebuilding San Jose squad. According to Friedman, this also from 32 Thoughts, the Sharks haven’t gotten that far yet in any Karlsson talks. As Friedman says, the belief is that Karlsson has not yet been asked to move his no-movement clause, at least not for any specific team.
Friedman adds that he believes the Sharks are currently trying to determine what other teams are willing to do in regards to the rest of the contract. Of course the Sharks and their potential trade partner will have to work out how much, if any, San Jose retains on the remaining contract and what assets they could get back for Karlsson, which would hinge on how much the Sharks would retain.
One team looking for defense that many want to see on the shortlist to acquire Karlsson would be the Ottawa Senators. Their search for a defenseman in the early part of this season has been well documented and Chychrun has been the number one name associated with them. As reported by Friedman on 32 Thoughts earlier, it is believed Ottawa did try to work on a deal that would have sent Nikita Zaitsev to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Tyler Myers, but the deal did not get far enough for Myers, who has a modified no-trade clause, to be asked for permission. Other pieces would have presumably had to be involved to make the deal work for both sides, but that sort of swap would have benefitted Vancouver to the tune of $1.5MM in cap savings while giving Ottawa the defenseman they’ve been looking for and allowing them to get out from under the Zaitsev contract.