- Kristen Shilton is a national NHL reporter for ESPN.
The long-awaited Jakob Chychrun trade has finally come around.
The Arizona Coyotes moved their top defenseman to the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday, in exchange for a conditional first-round draft pick in 2023, a conditional second-round selection in 2024 (from the Washington Capitals), and a second-round pick in 2026.
The first-round choice is top-five protected in the deal. If those parameters are met, it becomes an unprotected first-rounder in 2024. If Ottawa reaches the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals, the second-round choice becomes a first-rounder in 2024 that’s top-10 protected. If that condition is met, the pick moves to an unprotected first-round choice in 2025.
The Senators grabbed Chychrun for less than what Arizona was originally asking. The Coyotes had wanted a top prospect in return for Chychrun, but as other defensemen were plucked off the board — and with the trade deadline looming at 3 p.m. Friday — Arizona and Ottawa reignited previous negotiations to get a deal done.
Now Ottawa has an elite veteran to complement its stable of young defensive pieces. Chychrun — who has two years remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $4.6 million — joins Thomas Chabot, Jake Sanderson and Artem Zub on a Senators’ blueline that has been hit hard by injuries this season but, when healthy, has excellent potential.
The same goes for the Senators as a whole. Ottawa has won three straight and 10 of its past 14. They’re currently five points out of an Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 22 regular-season games to go. General manager Pierre Dorion is rewarding his group by acquiring a true difference-maker in Chychrun to help them make a postseason push over the next six weeks.
Chychrun’s skills include that rare mix of efficient defense with valuable offense on the back line. Even on a Coyotes team that often struggles to score goals, Chychrun, easily one of the most marketable defensemen in this year’s market, traditionally ends up with adequate numbers for an elite defenseman.
This season, despite injuries and a lack of experienced depth in the Coyotes’ defensive corps, Chychrun, 24, had seven goals and 28 points through Feb. 11, the day he was scratched for trading purposes. Chychrun previously hit double-digits in goals twice with Arizona, including his career high of 18 in 2020-21.
A 2016 first-round selection by Arizona, Chychrun is one of the few Florida natives to star in the NHL. Chychrun was raised in Boca Raton, Florida, and his father, former NHL defenseman Jeff Chychrun, is a studio analyst for the Florida Panthers.
With the Coyotes in rebuild mode, Chychrun’s name had been mentioned prominently in trade rumors for two years. He is under contract for another two years, but next season a modified no-trade clause was set to kick in. That put more pressure on Arizona to deal Chychrun now, to any team of their choosing, than to face limited options in the future.
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