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Senators acquire defenseman Jakob Chychrun from Coyotes

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Arizona Coyotes

Jan 24, 2023; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (6) carries the puck in the first period Anaheim Ducks at Mullett Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Jakob Chychrun’s long wait is over.

After sitting out eight games while awaiting a trade, the defenseman is finally on the move after being dealt from the Arizona Coyotes to the Ottawa Senators.

Rather than wait until the NHL’s trade deadline to hit, the Coyotes found their asking price in a deal they acquired a conditional first-round draft pick this year, a conditional second-round pick in 2024 and a second-round pick in ’26.

“A defenseman we’ve coveted, Jakob is big and plays imposing. he possesses a quality skill set,” Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said in a statement released by the team. “He uses his heavy shot with accuracy and is effective at creating offense as a threat at the offensive blue line.”

Chychrun, who turns 25 on March 31, had been scratched for trade-related reasons since Feb. 11, with his last appearance for Arizona coming a day earlier when he had an assist in a 4-3 overtime loss at Chicago.

The move ends a lengthy saga for Chychrun and the rebuilding Coyotes, who had been looking to deal him to a contender since before last season.

“On behalf of the entire organization, I would like to thank Jakob for everything he did for the Coyotes on and off the ice the past seven seasons,” Arizona GM Bill Armstrong said.

After months of discussions with most every NHL team, the trade finally materialized after Armstrong restarted talks with the Senators after they dealt defenseman Nikita Zaitsev to Chicago last week.

The Senators’ offer of draft picks, and not asking the Coyotes to take on any of the remaining two-plus seasons of Chychrun’s salary were key to Armstrong in making the deal.

“Our aim was more to acquire draft capital at this point,” said Armstrong, who had three first-round picks in last year’s draft and has potentially two first-rounders this year.

The conditional first-round pick acquired from Ottawa is top-five protected and would become an unprotected first-rounder in 2024. If the Senators reach the Eastern Conference final this spring, the conditional second-round selection next year becomes a top-10-protected first, which would then move to 2025 with no protection.

“We’re still in rebuild mode. And next year, we’re still in the mode,” Armstrong said. “This will give us a chance for two fairly high picks in the first round. And you can really make hay when you do that.”

A trade may have materialized last summer if Chychrun had not undergone wrist and ankle surgery. He missed the first month of the season and has since scored seven goals and recorded 21 assists in 36 games since returning.

The trade was Arizona’s second of the day, and with the Coyotes in Dallas preparing to play the Stars. Arizona also acquired a 2026 third-round pick by sending defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere to Carolina.

The Senators, meantime, add Chychrun to a young core of a team that’s won three in a row - including back-to-back drubbings of division rival Detroit - and are five points back of the second and final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

In Ottawa, the son of former NHL defenseman Jeff Chychrun now enters a playoff race for just the second time in his professional career.

Much of Chychrun’s production has gone under the radar playing for Arizona, a perennial also-ran whose only playoff appearance in the past decade came in 2020 when the NHL expanded its postseason field to 24 teams. The Coyotes plunged into another rebuilding process the following summer, trading captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson, forward Conor Garland and goaltender Darcy Kuemper among a bevy of moves aimed at winning down the road.

The Coyotes drafted Chychrun in the first round in 2016. He made his NHL debut immediately and has since put up 171 points in 382 regular-season and playoff games.

Gostisbehere, the NHL’s 2016 rookie of the year runner up who struggled over his final three seasons in Philadelphia under the weight of a six-year $27 million contract, regained his groove in Arizona, with 14 goals and 51 points last year. He leaves for Carolina with 10 goals and 31 points in 52 games.

“It seems like our coaching staff did an amazing job with him, getting him refurbished, getting his new game in order,” Armstrong said. “So I think it was a win-win. ... Now he gets a chance to win a championship with Carolina. So we’re very proud of him and wish him the best.”