Bruins

Should Bruins pursue d-man Jakob Chychrun before trade deadline?

Bruins

The NHL trade deadline isn't until March 21, but with playoff races heating up in both conferences, teams would be smart to get an early start on adding to their roster.

One team in need of reinforcements is the Boston Bruins.

The Bruins finally returned to action over the weekend following a two-week break due to COVID-19. They beat both the Buffalo Sabres and Detroit Red Wings, scoring eight 5-on-5 goals between the two victories.

But the B's have largely been a mediocre team throughout the 2021-22 season. They are 10 points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the third and final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division. Boston occupies the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference entering Tuesday. Sure, the Bruins have several games in hand on most teams in the conference, but they can't bank on those matchups all being wins.

More scoring depth from the Bruins a good start to 2022

One of Boston's most glaring needs is another top-four defenseman, and one player that could be available in the coming weeks/months is Jakob Chychrun of the Arizona Coyotes. 

What's the latest on Chychrun's situation? Nick Kypreos provided an update Monday on Sportsnet 590 The Fan in Toronto.

"There was some good speculation before Christmas, but I've heard recently that it's gone to another level," Kypreos said. "Some of the teams I'm hearing now in the mix include the Islanders, Bruins, Kings, Ducks, Oilers, Panthers and, yes, the Leafs are trying to figure out what the starter is for Jakob Chychrun. Everything points to (Rasmus) Sandin."

 

Chychrun is a very good player with impressive offensive skill and good size (6-foot-2 and 210 pounds). He tallied a career-high 41 points (18 goals, 23 assists) in 51 games last season. He's posted seven points (two goals, five assists) in 26 games this season. Chychrun plays a lot of minutes (24:49 per game!), too, and contributes to special teams in a positive way. Some of Chychrun's analytics are underwhelming, but that's more because the Coyotes are such an awful team and not a result of his talent taking a dramatic downturn.

Another positive for Chychrun is his contract, which runs through 2024-25 with a team-friendly $4.6 million salary cap hit. Chychrun also is a left-shooting defenseman, which the Bruins need after losing players like Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, Jeremy Lauzon and others on that side of the blue line in recent years.

The risk with Chychrun is his injury history. Since making his Coyotes debut in 2016-17, he's had shoulder surgery, a torn meniscus in his left knee and a torn ACL in his right knee. He's currently on injured reserve with an upper body issue and hasn't played since Dec. 10, although it looks like a return to game action is close.

The cost for a young, talented top-four defenseman like Chychrun is expected to be quite high. The Coyotes also don't have to move him before the trade deadline given the term left on his contract.

The Bruins have one of the worst prospect pools in the league. Boston's 2021 first-rounder, Fabian Lysell, is the top player in the system and should not be traded. Even though the Bruins have a lackluster group of prospects, including a first-round pick in a deal for Chychrun wouldn't be a bad idea given his age. He's only 23 years old. 

The Bruins should absolutely be in the mix for Chychrun. He's the type of defenseman they need to be competitive now and into the future. As always, it'll come down to the cost, and the reality is most teams are capable of putting together a better trade package than the Bruins.