When you read many of the articles talking about why acquiring Chychrun was a good idea, many of them point to his contract. That’s a short term solution.
It is true that $4.6 million for a top pairing defenseman at 23 years old is a good deal. It was not a rental option either since his contract runs through the summer of 2025 when he would be 26, at least.
There’s two main issues with that contract that seems good right now. The main one is that you’d have a ton of money tied up on your blue line.
Assuming Chychrun was brought in to only be an addition to the current group, you would have your top four defenders all under contract through 2025. With Torey Krug, Colton Parayko and Justin Faulk all getting $6.5 million, you would be paying $24.1 million to four players.
Those are all good players, but none of them are going to score you more than 15 goals or so, on their best years. That’s a lot of money tied up.
Most analysts would agree that Chychrun’s deal is a steal now. That means, when he’s 26 and just entering his real prime, he’s going to want a big raise.
Faulk and Krug’s deal run through 2027. Parayko’s deal is through 2030.
Faulk and Krug are 30 now and those contracts would be hard – not impossible – to move right now, unless a team is looking for veteran help. They’ll become harder to trade later on.
By the time Chychrun’s contract would need to be renewed, he’s going to want Alex Pietrangelo money or more. The Blues were smart not to spend that then and it wouldn’t make sense to turn around and spend it this time around.
Chychrun is a very good player. He’s not yet a transformative player that alters your team’s chances of winning a Stanley Cup by himself and may never be. That begs the question of whether he’s worth the money.
If you make the argument he’s worth the money, and it’s not an invalid argument, the fact remains it would have been hard to make the deal.
The Blues are up against the salary cap. Maybe there was a way to use LTIR to make it work and maybe not, but the reality is the Blues would have needed to find a way to move $4.6 million off the books for right now.
Completely removing the potential raise Chychrun would need later, the Blues had to match what they sent out with what they brought in. Leddy had 50% of his contract retained by Detroit, meaning the cap hit for the Blues matched exactly what they sent out with Oskar Sundqvist’s contract.
To free up $4.6 million, you’re talking trading a player like David Perron or Brandon Saad. To avoid that, you’d probably still need to trade out Sundqvist along with someone like Ivan Barbashev or Marco Scandella.
That would free up the dollars, but then you’re thin as far as the roster you can dress every night. It would have caused a lot more problems than most realize.