Recent reports suggest that the Toronto Maple Leafs are not interested in acquiring Jakob Chychrun from the Arizona Coyotes. At least that is what Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek reports.
Merek reported that the Maple Leafs (as well as the Edmonton Oilers) have said “no” to a potential trade for the defenceman. Marek also pointed out that there is no guarantee that Chychrun will be traded as the Coyotes do not play until Monday against the Nashville Predators.
However, other reports out of Arizona reported that Chychrun would be a healthy scratch until something (trade-wise) happens.
Who Is Jakob Chychrun?
Unless you have no interest in hockey whatsoever or have been on a vacation to Mars, you know that Chychrun is a defenceman for the Arizona Coyotes. He’s believed to be a great defenseman on a really good contract. Specifically, his salary-cap hit is $4,600,000 through the 2024-25 season, when he becomes a UFA.
Chychrun was drafted by the Coyotes in the first round (16th overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. He’s been a valuable player for the Coyotes, and he’s made a significant impact on the team’s defence. He has size, mobility, and a strong offensive upside. Some hockey pundits believe he’s one of the top young defensemen in the NHL.
Related: Maple Leafs Trade Deadline Prediction: Adding Josh Anderson
So, Why Would the Coyotes Want to Trade Chychrun?
Now, here’s the rub. I have no reason to be suspicious; however, the question that jumps to my mind is why the Coyotes would want to trade this great young defenseman. If he’s as good as he seems on paper, why get rid of him?
The Coyotes are always looking for ways to save money; and, that might be the reason. However, they have to meet the salary-cap floor of $61 million. And, that might be the reason. However, how could the Coyotes come close to replacing anyone with this kind of reputation for the salary he’s being paid?
Chychrun is a good contract for them. Why would they want to dump it? There seem to be two good reasons: one because there’s something the Coyotes don’t like; or, they believe someone will give them the moon for him.
I Have No Knowledge If Anything Is Awry, But …
Let me reiterate that I do not know about what’s happening here, so I don’t mean to point fingers or make accusations. However, something just doesn’t seem logical to me in this kind of a move by Arizona. I have no idea of Chychrun’s injury history, or whether something isn’t right now. But it just doesn’t seem like a logical move to me. Nor do I have any knowledge of Chychrun’s asking price.
For these reasons, the bottom line is that I’m glad that the Maple Leafs are not pursuing a trade for him. That said, if he’s as good as it seems, anyone would want to have them on the team? He’s had a solid season on paper. On the season, he’s scored seven goals and added 21 assists (for 28 points) in 36 games.
[But playing 36 games also means he’s missed 17 games on the season for one reason or another. Is that a concern?]
The Maple Leafs Defense Is Better than Expected, Still, Help Would Be Nice
Certainly, the Maple Leafs’ defence has played far past expectations this season. The two young Swedish defencemen Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren have risen to the challenge. Sure they make mistakes, but they’re young and inexperienced. Neither of them has very many games at the NHL level.
Nor has Conor Timmins, who showed up like found money. He, too, lacks experience; but, he seems like a keeper.
The adage is that it takes about 200 games for a defenceman to get comfortable with all the decisions he has to make under pressure in their defensive zone. In other words, given the team’s talent but inexperience, help on the blue line couldn’t hurt the Maple Leafs’ chances of pursuing the Stanley Cup.
What I’m thinking is that cheaper help might tide the team over until their three young defensemen can gain the experience they need to succeed – even in the postseason.
Related: Maple Leafs Losing to Poor Teams: Just Frustrating, or a Big Deal?
The Maple Leafs Might Have Pulled Out Because Chychrun’s Ask Is Too High
Back to Chychrun, there are two reasons why the Coyotes would want to move such a valuable asset. First, they might fear that Chychrun could have issues with injuries (or something akin). That wouldn’t be kosher, but it’s happened to the Maple Leafs before when they brought in Nick Foligno from the Columbus Blue Jackets. He hardly played in the postseason for the team.
Second, the Coyotes could be asking far too much in return for their defenseman. If that’s the case, I have no interest in the Maple Leafs mortgaging their future. So bailing on such a trade seems like a wise move.
Given it all that could go wrong, I’m pleased about the news that the Maple Leafs are not interested in Chychrun. Still, I hope I’m wrong; and, for his sake I hope that everything is OK. I hate it when good hockey players fall to injury.
Of course, I’m not saying that this is the case with this youngster.
I’m Glad the Maple Leafs Have Pulled Out
You watch. As soon as this is published, the Maple Leafs will announce the trade. I’ve been wrong before. If so; and, the Maple Leafs do bring him on board, I hope I’m wrong to be suspicious.
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