When the defense market is mentioned in the NHL, at least two things immediately come to mind: Jakob Chychrun and the Ottawa Senators, both as they are separate, and the rumors linking the defender to the Canadian capitol. With Chychrun on IR to end last season and now to start this season, the rumors surrounding the 24-year-old have been a little quieter than usual, but he was expected to begin his return Monday.
Tonight on Hockey Night in Canada’s Thoughts 32 segment, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman seemed to confirm this inevitability, expecting talks on Chychrun to start heating up once the defenseman returns. Another interesting note from Friedman on the Coyotes and their defenders is the possibility of a trade being involved Conor Timmins. A second-round pick in 2017, Timmins’ prospect status was never really in question, at least not from his on-ice performance. Instead, injuries have derailed the 24-year-old’s career. Now on a conditioning stint in the AHL, Timmins appears to be fully healthy and soon ready for NHL action, leading Friedman to wonder if Arizona could pursue a trade deal for Timmins as well.
A more recent name added to defenseman speculation is the San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson. Supposedly unstoppable, Karlsson, already on pace to excel, is off to an incredible start, scoring 11 goals as well as 17 assists in 19 games into the season. With four years remaining at an $11.5MM cap hit after this season, Karlsson will be extremely difficult for the Sharks to move even with his historic production, but that could make rebuilding San Jose’s squad possible. According to Friedman, this also from 32 Thoughts, the Sharks haven’t gone that far yet in any Karlsson talks. As Friedman says, the belief is that Karlsson hasn’t been asked to move his no-movement clause yet, at least not for any particular team.
Friedman also says he believes the Sharks are trying to figure out what other teams are willing to do for the remainder of the contract. Of course, the Sharks and their potential trade partner will have to work out how much, if any, San Jose retains on his remaining contract and what assets they could get in return for Karlsson, which would depending on how much the Sharks would keep.
One defense looking team that many want to see on the short list to get Karlsson is the Ottawa Senators. Their search for a defender early this season has been well documented and the name most associated with them is Chychrun. As Friedman reported on 32 Thoughts earlier, Ottawa is believed to have tried to work on a deal that sent him Nikita Zaitsev to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange Tyler Myers, but the deal wasn’t long enough for Myers, who has a modified no-trade clause, to be asked for permission. Other pieces would probably have to be involved to make the deal work for both sides, but that swap would benefit Vancouver with $1.5MM in cap savings while giving them the defenseman they were looking for Ottawa and letting them. to get out of under Zaitsev’s contract.