It recently became public that the Arizona Coyotes were ready to listen on trade offers for defenseman Jakob Chychrun. The St. Louis Blues need to kick the tires on a possible trade.
One glaring weakness for the St. Louis to start the season was the defense. Granted, it has been remarkably better over the past two weeks. Still, a player like Jakob Chychrun would solidify the Blues’ defensive crops and would make them legitimate Stanley Cup contenders.
Chychrun is in the middle of his sixth NHL season, and he has spent all of them with the team that drafted him 16th overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the Arizona Coyotes.
After making the move to the Central Division after the Seattle Kraken took their place in the Pacific, the Coyotes are in shambles. They had a historically bad start to their season and played for the number one pick for two months.
It makes all the sense in the world for Arizona to make Chychrun available. He is one of the few young, cost-controlled defensemen to hit the market, and at a time when teams are dying for depth, the Coyotes will likely get a significant return.
The Florida native’s numbers this season are at an all-time low. If you have been following the Coyotes season, it shouldn’t come as any surprise to you as to why his numbers are so bad.
He has played in 26 games this season with two goals and seven points under his belt. Unfortunately, despite his low-scoring numbers, his defensive numbers are even worse.
He is a plus/minus -29 this season. His career’s lowest plus/minus came in his rookie season in 2016-17, and he was a -14. For his career, he is a -55, but he has also posted two seasons of at least 12 goals, including 18 last year.
There are two hurdles in acquiring Chychrun from the Coyotes at the moment for St. Louis, cap space and his upper-body injury.
He has been on injured reserve since December 11 with an upper-body injury. There hasn’t been any update on his potential return other than it was reported that he would miss multiple games when he got hurt.
The injury to the Coyotes blueliner should not shy the Blues away from looking at trading for him. He is an offensive-minded defenseman who is under team control for the next three seasons at a $4.6 million cap hit.
The Blues do not have $4.6 million in cap space, if you were wondering. Something has to give. At such a low cap hit, the Coyotes would be foolish to retain any salary, and they should be looking for a hefty return.
According to CapFriendly, the Blues have $5,105 in cap space to play with and big contracts in injured reserved that will come back on the books in a few weeks.
The easy solution in the offseason would be to offer the Coyotes Vladimir Tarasenko, but there are two problems with that now. First, he is on one of the best lines in the NHL with Ivan Barbashev and Pavel Buchnevich, and second, there is no chance he would want to go play in Arizona.
A trade for Chychrun would force the Blues to deal from a source of strength and depth. The forward group. Would Doug Armstrong be willing to part with a Barbashev or an Oskar Sundqvist to acquire him?
Or could the Blues sweeten the pot with some low-round picks and an expensive defensemen like Robert Bortuzzo in exchange?
The Blues are constructed in such a way that their best players are making a ton of money, while their role players seem too valuable to give up and are only making around $2.5 million a year.
We’ve seen Armstrong pull off more complex trades than what this would appear to be, but if the Blues were to acquire Chychrun, it would mean the departure of a critical piece to the Blues competitive puzzle.
A Chyhrun trade would be a great Christmas gift for Blues fans (for the right price). But if it doesn’t get done on Christmas, New Years is OK too.