During Monday’s episode of Insider Trading, TSN’s Darren Dreger named the St. Louis Blues as one of eight teams linked to Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun.
It’s no secret that the St. Louis Blues need to improve their defense at the trade deadline if they have any hope of making the playoffs. If Tuesday night’s 4-1 loss to the Senators is any indication, the Blues could use Jakob Chychrun.
Chychrun is the creme de la creme among the candidates expected to move teams ahead of the March 21 trade deadline. He will command a big package as he is only 23 and controls the team on a great contract.
His recent play has been concerning, but in Tuesday night’s 9-2 win over the Red Wings, Chychrun scored twice for his fourth and fifth goals of the season to bring his points tally to 19 this year.
The Coyotes are trying their best not to win the draft lottery with strong performances lately, and Chychrun continues to increase his stock as he has appeared to change his season over the past two weeks.
Demand for Chychrun is going to be high and will cost at least a pair of high draft picks with some prospects. Would the Blues be interested in replacing Scott Perunovich or Jake Neighbors in a possible trade package?
It is difficult to project Neighbors’ involvement with the Blues long term. He had an average nine-game tryout with the NHL club to start the season, and based on his performances, he appears to be a top-6 fringe player who can throw his body and score the occasional goal.
Perunovich currently sits on the LTIR but plans to be a similar player to current Blues defender Torey Krug. He is a quick and offensive skater whose passing ability rivals that of Robert Thomas.
Still, the cost to Chychrun would likely require one, if not both, of those players plus additional draft picks. The good news for St. Louis is that the Blues still have their first-round picks for the next three seasons.
If they were to make a deal to acquire Chychrun, it would change the course of the franchise for the foreseeable future. The Blues are said to have a defensive core consisting of Krug, Justin Faulk, Colton Payrako, Niko Mikkola and Robert Bortuzzo. Add Chychrun into the mix and the Blues have the best blue line in the league.
The problem with a potential trade for the young defender is the interest from other teams in the league. With eight teams rumored to be involved, including the Panthers, Kings, Bruins, Hurricanes and Ducks, the Coyotes’ recent move to Central makes it more difficult.
The price will already be steep for any team that inquires about Chychrun’s services, but if Arizona is going to trade him within the division, you can go ahead and double the price.
He’s not a hire who will play for the Blues for two months and then sign a contract with an Eastern Conference team that Arizona sees twice a year. No, they’ll see their best defender for the foreseeable future, and we’ll see if Bill Armstrong even wants to make a trade with his former team.
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Arizona is in a place where they can maintain a good amount of ceiling space if they need it. The Coyotes have just over $6 million in cap space. Whichever team trades for Chycrun, it will be a Jack Eichel return.