A trade with Jakob Chychrun from Bruins would be an expensive but solid buy
Defending, especially on the left, is not a Bruins weakness. They roll Hampus Lindholm, Matt Grzelcyk and Derek Forbort. Jakub Zboril and Mike Reilly, the latter currently buried in Providence, are on deck.
That doesn’t mean it couldn’t be improved. Jakob Chychrun would certainly qualify as an upgrade – albeit an expensive one.
The 24-year-old leads the Coyotes with a 23:05 average ice time per game. He has 27 points, making him the fifth best in the squad.
Going 5-on-5, the Coyotes outperformed their opponents by a 32-24 lead with Chychrun on the ice via Natural Stat Trick. He is the only Arizona defenseman with a batting average of over 50 percent (57.14). He is under contract for $4.6 million a year through 2025.
So you can see why the Bruins raised their hand for Chychrun before the March 3 close, according to colleague Pierre LeBrun. He ticks many boxes for Stanley Cup favorites – both on cap charts and on the ice.
The Rumblings article has the latest on Patrick Kane, no-move clauses in the league that could impact the deadline, plus more on Jakob Chychrun ⤵️
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) February 8, 2023
In a chychrun trade, the Coyotes may have to withhold their salary to stay above the $61 million cap. In fact, they may have to take back salary, such as Reilly’s average annual value of $3 million. The Bruins need the bucks to equalize the bucks after activating Jake DeBrusk from long-term injury reserve.
The problem is the number of followers interested in Chychrun.
The trick general manager Don Sweeney would have to pull off is to put together a package that could outperform its rivals. That wouldn’t be easy.
Arizona’s asking price of two first-round picks and a prospect is high. The Bruins have traded three of their last five first-round players, including the 2022ers in the Hampus Lindholm deal. The Ducks also own the Bruins’ second-round picks 2023 and 2024.
In the meantime, it’s possible the Bruins’ upcoming first-rounder may be number 32 in June. A 2023 first-rounder from the Kings or Oilers, both of which are non-playoff suspensions, would be preferable for the Coyotes.
As for the prospects, the Bruins, who ranked No. 30 on fellow Scott Wheeler’s list, don’t have as many options as other bidders. One of Fabian Lysell or Mason Lohrei, their top two youngsters, would have to be considered for inclusion.
The #NHLBruins Ranking of interested parties:
1. Fabian Lysel
2. Mason Lohrei
3-15 (plus full scouting reports, videos, player tiers and more):
— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) January 11, 2023
But given the strength of the 2022-23 squad and the uncertain futures of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, it is management’s responsibility to maximize their cup chances. Chychrun would do it. He would also extend the argument window due to his age and long-term effects.
The addition of Chychrun would give coach Jim Montgomery three all-around defenders along with Lindholm and Charlie McAvoy. It would be practically unfair.
It would also take Grzelcyk out of a full health rotation in all likelihood.
The Charlestown native has fulfilled all of Montgomery’s desires, whether he’s played with McAvoy or Brandon Carlo. The results were out of this world.
Opponents are averaging 1.21 goals per 60 minutes in the five-a-side game against the Bruins with Grzeclyk on the ice. It’s the lowest GA/60 of any NHL defenseman with more than 700 five-a-side minutes. Rangers’ Ryan Lindgren is No. 2 at 1.62. The Bruins outplayed their opponents five-for-five by 42-15 with Grzelcyk on the ice.
Grzelcyk’s league-leading goalscoring rate of 73.68 percent follows a trend. He has never been below 50 percent in his six seasons.
However, this pattern never extended into the playoffs. Last year against the Hurricanes, when Grzelcyk was playing with a shoulder that needed surgery, he was on the ice and conceding six goals and two goals. His highest postseason ratio was 43.75 percent goals-for-share in 2020-21. Perhaps in the playoffs, when forecheck speed and physicality skyrocket, Grzelcyk will have less time to play to his puck strengths.
Grzelcyk has an average ice time of 17:16 per game, the second-lowest mark of his career. He is not in any powerplay unit. Forbort (3:13) and Lindholm (2:16) do the heavy left foot work in the penalty shootout. Grzelcyk is under contract through 2024 at an average annual value of $3,687,500.
The coyotes race down. Trading Chychrun among other squad players would theoretically improve their chances of picking Connor Bedard as the overall winner.
The Bruins are now seven points clear of the Hurricanes, their closest pursuers. Maybe there is common ground for a deal.
(Top photo of Taylor Hall and Jakob Chychrun: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
https://theathletic.com/4167682/2023/02/08/jakob-chychrun-trade-bruins/ A trade with Jakob Chychrun from Bruins would be an expensive but solid buy