We’ve reported previously that teams like Anaheim, Los Angeles, St Louis, Boston and the New York Islanders have all shown interest to various degrees. We can also add Florida and Columbus to that mix as well with the Panthers in position to perhaps make the best offer.
More recently, he reported that at least one offer meets the Coyotes' criteria of a "good young player, a high-end prospect and a first-round pick".
That's a high price to pay, but Chychrun is the full package. It isn't often that a young defenseman with term and a high pedigree hits the trade market. Does it make sense for the Blue Jackets to pursue him in a trade?
The Argument For
Chychrun checks a ton of boxes. He's 23, signed at an extremely reasonable $4.6M for this season and the next three years. He has prototypical NHL size at 6'2", 210. He can play big minutes, run a power play, and kill penalties. Even his dad, Jeff, was a solid NHL player in his day. And after an impressive junior career in the OHL, Jakub was drafted with the 16th overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft (for reference, Patrik Laine went 2nd, Pierre-Luc Dubois 3rd, and Jake Bean 13th).
The Blue Jackets aren't in win-now mode, but by the time they will be, Chychrun will be in the midst of his prime years. And while the aforementioned asking price is quite steep, there's no guarantee that any of the draft picks/prospects in the deal would amount to the player that Chychrun is today.
Chychrun would immediately fortify a Blue Jackets defense corps that has struggled to play against more physical opponents all year. Andrew Peeke has been better as of late, and Vladislav Gavrikov is steady. But defensemen like Adam Boqvist and Jake Bean are prone to getting beat off the wall and in the corners, and a player like Chychrun would help solve that problem in a hurry.
The Argument Against
If the Coyotes are able to find a trade partner with their current asking price, good on them. For a team like the Florida Panthers, who are all-in on winning the Stanley Cup in 2022, I can understand talking yourself into it. But the Blue Jackets are rebuilding the right way, adding two lottery picks in 2021 (which resulted in Kent Johnson and Cole Sillinger) and what looks to be two more in 2022. Why deviate from that organic growth?
Plus, the asking price itself takes away from the current trajectory. Trading away top picks and prospects gives the organization fewer future pieces. And even with someone as promising, young, and talented as Chychrun, the hope and expectation is that at least one of these picks will turn out to be that type of player, to say nothing of the other two pieces.
I hate to punt like this, but it depends on the theoretical trade package. But Arizona has the advantage that multiple teams are competing for Chychrun's services, and I can't imagine the Blue Jackets willing to be the highest bidder. That's the right call, and even though it means more losses in 2022, the hope is that in 2024 and beyond, it signifies more wins.