With the trade deadline approaching, the Oil Rig will be detailing the play of prospective trade targets. Briefly, let’s take a look at what what each player might bring to the team, as well as what the current circumstances are between their current team and the Edmonton Oilers. Starting today, we will revisit Jakob Chychrun of the Arizona Coyotes.
Evaluating Chychrun’s gameplay
Chychrun is a great 6’2” skater, capable of matching the speed and agility of any opponent. Combined with his size, and strong stickchecking, Chychrun has the makings of a high level defender. Off the rush or in zone, Chychrun can handle top defensive assignments at a reasonable level, and certainly would be a good addition for every team in that regard.
Offensively, Chychrun is at his best when leveraging his skating prowess as well. Chychrun is a capable puck carrier through all three zones, from skating out of trouble in his own end, to entering into the opponent’s zone. Chychrun is a good left shooter also, including off the rush or zone entry, as well as deeper into the opponent’s end than most defencemen during in zone attacking.
Put it all together and it becomes clear that Chychrun has a unique resume. At 24 years old, and with three years remaining on a great value cap hit of $4.6M, Chychrun has youth, skill, and experience. He might be the most significant player moved this deadline league-wide, depending on how all that shakes out.
Chychrun could improve the Oilers’ lineup
No doubt the Oilers would be a much better team with Chychrun in the fold. Chychrun provides positives on offence and defence that go towards controlling play, possession, and scoring chances for and against. Presumably, any pair with Chychrun that the Oilers might throw together might be as good as any pair with Darnell Nurse. At 5v5, the two could split a whole game, though both would be better served with slightly less than they have been in recent years.
On special teams there might be some adjustments that have to be made. Chychrun is playing second unit power play for the Coyotes, and with the Oilers already boasting the likes of Tyson Barrie, Evan Bouchard, and even Nurse as capable power play options, it is hard to imagine that Chychrun would be expected to take a spot on the well-oiled power play.
Chychrun has not been playing the penalty kill for the Coyotes this season. The Oilers have been relying on Nurse and Brett Kulak when on the kill, though Philip Broberg is making an appearance of late, and others like Markus Niemelainen and Ryan Murray have chipped in. Perhaps Chychrun is ready to take on minutes, if not more than the depth behind Nurse and Kulak on the left side has. It would be bold to say that Chychrun will save the Oilers struggling penalty kill.
How will this work for the cap-strapped Oilers?
Chychrun is on a great contract, a huge positive given the Oilers current cap situation. Value-wise, with Chychrun’s age, skill, and contract, every team, the Coyotes included, would welcome his services. The Coyotes are likely swinging for the fences, well leveraged to demand a ransom of assets and willing to wait a long time, as they have already.
With a plethora of picks and prospects in the system, the Coyotes are likely looking for something precious in return, something as tangible as possible to anchor their hopes to. In some ways, Chychrun is already fulfilling that role, explaining their willingness to sit still.
The Oilers will likely be forced to operate on a dollar-in dollar-out basis at the deadline approaches, so they will have to include equivalent salary as well as futures in any deal for Chychrun. This means that a deal for Chychrun, or any other player of salary, will weaken the Oilers current roster in one way or another, as current roster players will need to be moved out.