When Jakob Chychrun was held out of Arizona’s lineup Saturday for “trade-related reasons” it seemed we were close to concluding his long stay on the NHL trade candidates list.
Alas, here we are on Monday with the Coyotes preparing to take on the Predators in Nashville, and Chychrun remains with the team.
While Jeff Marek reported that the Leafs and Oilers were not imminently trading for Chychrun on Saturday and that the Los Angeles Kings were “pouring cold water on this one”, Los Angeles nonetheless was the team with the most smoke around it in regards to Chychrun.
“As it heated up on Saturday and Sunday I think everybody was thinking Los Angeles was the team and I think LA is in the driver’s seat, but I kept getting warned it’s not close,” Elliotte Friedman said on Monday’s 32 Thoughts podcast. “I think somewhere between the Kings and Coyotes there was a snag. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, that doesn’t mean it can’t happen, but I think there was some snag. I think what the snag may have been is that the Kings and Coyotes were talking about a contract that needed to be moved and they couldn’t agree. I don’t think it was one of the principal members of the trade, but potentially an ancillary member of the trade.”
Friedman noted that the Kings have made it clear to teams that Quinton Byfield and Brandt Clarke would not be considered for trade. Clarke’s name specifically was popping up in the weekend rumours around Chychrun.
“Despite that the Clarke rumours went crazy on Sunday and I believe the Kings took the step of notifying Clarke he would not be traded.”
So are we just awaiting the final details of a Chychrun-to-Los Angeles trade?
Not so fast.
While those teams may have been somewhat close over the weekend, the way the Coyotes announced Chychrun’s healthy scratch may inspire other interested teams to jump back into the fray and make their final push for the defenceman.
“Because they held Chychrun out of the game and tweeted what they did I wonder if it’s re-engaged some other teams,” Friedman pondered.
The team announced again on Monday that Chychrun would sit out for trade-related reasons.
IS ERIK KARLSSON A REALISTIC TARGET FOR THE OILERS?
It’s not often the season’s Norris Trophy favourite comes available in trade, but the rebuilding Sharks have an opportunity to trade Karlsson at peak value after several years of injuries and declining results made him virtually unmovable.
Even now, though, the NHL blueline leader in scoring and the league’s overall leader in even strength points will not be easy to trade, even if there is a market for him. Regardless of how he’s performing on the ice, Karlsson still comes with an $11.5 million cap hit that runs through the 2026-27 season. It’s a lot of money for one team to take on in-season, and it’s a lot to ask another team to retain any of that money in dead cap space for another four seasons.
But the Oilers are not going away here.
“I believe the Oilers are listening to their top players who have said we prefer puck-moving and they’re going to look into that,” Friedman said. “If this is what McDavid and Draisaitl want, I think if you’re the Oilers you have a responsibility to try.”
Further muddying the waters is that Karlsson has a full no-movement clause. We know his stated desire is to play for a winning team and that he wants to chase Stanley Cups for the remainder of his career. The Oilers would provide that opportunity.
But would Karlsson be open to leaving sunny California for wintry Edmonton over the long term?
“What I’ve heard about Karlsson is he’s trying not to think about it until he’s presented with something,” Friedman said.
If the Oilers do make a move on Karlsson, they’ll have to trade out a few contract just to make the money work, before figuring out what value they will give back to the Sharks. Jesse Puljujarvi makes $3 million against the cap and is a waiver candidate now; Kailer Yamamoto makes $3.1 million against the cap and could be expendable for Karlsson; and Tyson Barrie makes $4.5 million while playing the same puck-moving role as Karlsson. It’s possible at least two of these players would have to be involved just to make the money work, and before we consider which picks and/or prospects the Sharks might want to move Karlsson at all.
And if the Oilers have to move multiple roster players, they might run the risk of having to run with a shorter bench in a capped out situation, or throwing off some of the chemistry they have this season.
“I do think the Oilers have thought long and hard about the way that Barrie has played this year and the role he plays that if he’s going out it better be for a good reason,” Friedman said. “They really feel Barrie has become a big part of their framework internally and they can’t be all willy-nilly about moving him.”