A possible move from Jakob Chychrun to Los Angeles was reported on social media on Sunday. We were followed with questions from all directions about when it would happen and who was involved.
The reality is, there wasn’t really anything new to report. During a Kings Of The podcast episode over All Star weekend, we broke down what a potential deal would likely look like. As we noted at the time, all of our sources pointed out that LA’s two grocery chain frontrunners, Quinton Byfield and Brandt Clarke, were off the table. We’re not a rumor site so we’re not going to get involved in all the speculation out there. However, for context — one of our favorite words about KOTP — below is some information to think about if you read and hear a lot of noise in the hockey verse.
Arizona is said to want 3-4 assets for its star defenseman. One of these pieces is assumed to be a first-round draft pick, while the others should be prospects who are equal in the first round. What does this mean for LA?
For starters, we’ve heard LA isn’t interested in trading its first all-rounder of 2023; especially after missing out on a 2022 first-round pick due to Kevin Fiala’s trade with Minnesota last summer. That means the Kings would most likely offer a 2024 first-round pick on any potential deal. Given that LA is on the rise, this should be a late first-round pick. Would that be enough for Arizona?
As for the players – again for context – what could the Kings and Coyotes possibly discuss?
Start with this list:
It’s not as simple as, ‘Arizona, pick the two or three players you want and let’s cut the deal.’ Each player comes with additional considerations. For starters, Kupari (despite being a former first-round pick) and Grans probably don’t have enough cache to move the needle just yet. Additionally, Vilardi is an RFA this summer and expects a healthy pay rise given his performance this season. Turcotte has had some injury problems, how does that affect his value, if any? Kaliyev has managed to score 20 goals this season and hasn’t even seen top 6 minutes. What does his future look like?
In general, kings would hate to part ways with any of these players. Each is an important piece of the overall puzzle. In Turcotte they have a player who is unlike almost any other prospect in the pipeline. His skills are unique. Ditto for Kaliyev with his deadly one-timer. How many times have we talked about Vilardi being the prospect with the highest high-end capabilities?
Then there are the defense issues. If Arizona loses a defender, wouldn’t they want one back? If so, and they stick to the first round equivalent, is that Bjornfot? He’s out of waivers next season, so either LA or Arizona must have an NHL roster spot available for him in October. This is a lefty for lefty swap. Could be good for Arizona, not ideal for LA. As has been consistently noted over the past year, the kings need to make room on the right. They already have Durzi playing on the left due to their current congestion and needs. Also, they have Spence and Clarke coming quickly. Durzi is the most NHL-ready blueliner in the system. The scouts know what he’s capable of now, having watched him last year and so far this season. He has also signed a very cheap contract for one more season – always an important consideration in a swap.
Losing Durzi wouldn’t be easy for LA. He has proven to be extremely valuable since joining last season. It offers offense, toughness, and versatility. That deal could also help LA offset their salary cap concerns for next season.
There is also the “other teams” factor. LA isn’t the only club fishing for chychrun. For example, if the Kings were able to box Turcotte, Durzi and a 2024 first-round pick, would that be enough for the Coyotes? Or could another team beat this offer?
And then GM Rob Blake must also consider other necessary steps. Chychrun, good as it is, isn’t the piece that will push LA over the top. More moves are needed this offseason. Two of Blake’s biggest moves of late have been via free agency (Phil Danault) and the Fiala deal (a two-asset deal; a prospect and a first-round pick). If Arizona wanted a fourth asset to close a chychrun deal, would he be willing to put up that many chips for a player? Should he be ready? It could probably be argued either way. However, one should keep in mind that Chychrun tops the list when it comes to LA’s needs (ie player type, contract, age, etc.). There’s quite a fall-off to the next tier of left-firing defenders that they could potentially be attacking at the moment.
If it took four assets to get Chychrun, would it be worth it considering they would have him under contract for this season and the next two years? Sometimes you have to overpay for what you need. In that sense, the Kings paid too much to bring in Rob Scuderi in 2009. He later helped them win in 2012, so it worked out then.
If a deal to acquire Chychrun is Turcotte, Durzi and a first-round pick, it’s likely a great hockey trade for both sides.
If nothing comes about between the two clubs because they couldn’t agree on a fair price, it’s not the end of the world. Blake will continue to work to improve the Kings now and in the summer. This isn’t an all-in season, it’s a type season. The future is still very rosy.
Now, if Arizona was willing to include goaltender Karel Vejmelka, the entire scope of a deal changes dramatically.
Kings of the Podcast: Ep. 130 with Jeff Chychrun
What would Jacob Chychrun cost the kings, and should they?
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