Make no mistake about it: Don Sweeney and the Boston Bruins were certainly among those with a legitimate interest in Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun ahead of the 2022 NHL trade deadline.
But the Bruins may very well be the reason that Chychrun stays in Arizona beyond next Monday’s trade deadline, as the Coyotes have announced that the 23-year-old defender will miss the next two to four weeks at least after suffering a lower-body injury in last Saturday’s head-to-head with the Bruins at TD Garden.
The Bruins injuring one of their biggest (if not their No. 1 with a bullet biggest) trade target nine days away from the trade deadline would be something. But it’s even deeper than that, really, as the greatest irony of all comes with the fact that the left-shot Chychrun was injured on a hit from Bruins defenseman Derek Forbort. The 6-foot-4 Forbort, of course, is a left-shot defenseman for the Bruins, and a player whose status would certainly be impacted in some fashion by a Chychrun acquisition.
Because of course that’s how it had to go down for the Bruins.
Now, the Coyotes could still move Chychrun. But with a potential month-long absence clearly on the table with this trip to the injured reserve, the return coming Arizona’s way may be limited compared to what it would’ve been prior to Saturday’s game-ending injury against the Bruins. And prior to the injury, the belief around the league was that the Coyotes were going to get an undeniable king’s ransom for Chychrun given his ceiling, age (he turns 24 later this month), and highly-affordable contract situation, with Chychrun signed at $4.6 million through 2024-25.
And the Coyotes, who are in the midst of a scorched-earth rebuild that’s shown no signs of ending anytime soon, have been more than willing to hold out for what they view as an optimal return in any trade. This has been the theme of Bill Armstrong’s brief run as the general manager in the desert, really, with the Coyotes maximizing the return on the trade that sent Oliver Ekman-Larsson to Vancouver and move that shipped Christian Dvorak to the Canadiens. And Chychrun is more valuable than both of those players, and there’s still more than enough time to make a call on Chychrun given his contract.
In other words, teams like the Bruins are unlikely to get a ‘damaged goods’ discount between now and Mar. 21.
Along with the downer of a Chychrun update, the Bruins saw a potential target swiped off the board Monday night, as the Ducks shipped right-shot defenseman Josh Manson to the Avalanche in exchange for prospect Drew Helleson (a second-round pick in 2019) along with a 2023 second-round pick.