The Detroit Red Wings have certainly taken a step in the right direction this season. After years of being near the bottom of the NHL standings, Detroit currently has a 19-18-8 record and is showing that they are becoming a competitive club. However, at the time of this writing, they are also seven points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, so their playoff hopes are not particularly high. As a result, many believe that the Red Wings will be sellers at the deadline.
Although we very well could see Detroit trade several pending unrestricted free agents (UFA), I also would argue that they should consider looking at players with term who could help them for this season and beyond. It is clear that the Red Wings are inching closer to becoming a playoff team, so why shouldn’t they aim to bring in talent? As a result, one club they need to consider doing business with is the Arizona Coyotes. They have a star that would be a perfect fit for the Red Wings, and he just so happens to be available for trade, too. Alas, let’s dive into why these two teams could strike a blockbuster trade now.
Jakob Chychrun Wants Out of Arizona
Since last season, Jakob Chychrun has been the talk of the town when it comes to trade rumors. The 24-year-old defenseman has made it known that he wants to be moved in order to play competitive hockey, and the Coyotes are of course in a full-on rebuild. As a result, it appears that their relationship is coming to a much-needed end, and the Florida native is expected to finally get his wish before the deadline passes.
After missing the beginning portion of the season due to injury, Chychrun has not lost a step in the slightest, as he has five goals and 23 points in 30 games played. This kind of production from the point is certainly impressive to see from him, but if he ends up joining a team that offers him more weapons to work with, his pace of production would likely increase. As a result, it makes perfect sense that so many teams are trying to get their hands on the star defenseman.
Although the Red Wings’ playoff hopes are low right now, it is fair to assume that they should be competing for a playoff spot as soon as next season. Their young players are continuing to improve, and general manager (GM) Steve Yzerman showed this past offseason that he is ready to spend money in free agency. As a result, with Detroit being on the rise, Chychrun could make a plethora of sense for him.
Chychrun Would Be Perfect Fit for Red Wings
Back in late 2021, fellow THW writer Devin Little argued that the Red Wings should aim to acquire Chychrun to help solidify their defensive group. Back then, it was an argument that made sense, and I believe that it still applies in 2023. The left side of the Red Wings’ defensive group still needs a significant boost if they want to become legitimate contenders. Yzerman aimed to fix this during the offseason when he signed veterans Ben Chiarot and Olli Maatta, but neither of these players has been the answer for the top pairing. However, if the Red Wings acquired Chychrun, he would change that in a heartbeat.
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There’s no denying that Chychrun is a legitimate top-pairing defenseman at this juncture of his career, as he offers a nice blend of strong offense to go along with excellent defensive play. Furthermore, with him still being just 24 years old, he certainly has the potential to be a long-term part of the Red Wings’ core if he is successfully acquired. As a result, in my opinion, he is exactly the player that Detroit should be aiming to bring in to play with fellow star defenseman Moritz Seider.
Besides Chychrun being a very good player, he also has a fantastic contract that only makes him more appealing. The 6-foot-2 defenseman carries an affordable $4.6 million cap hit until the end of the 2023-24 season. Therefore, if the Red Wings end up being the lucky team to acquire him, they would have him signed under market value for multiple years.
Potential Blockbuster Between Detroit & Arizona
A major reason why the Coyotes have not traded Chychrun for this long is that they feel that they have not been given a strong enough offer yet. However, when noting that the Red Wings have one of the most impressive prospect pools in the league, they certainly have the assets to help swing a potential blockbuster. To acquire Chychrun, the Red Wings could part ways with their 2024 first-round pick, 2023 second-round pick, Marco Kasper, and William Wallinder.
To acquire Chychrun, the Red Wings are going to need to give up a top prospect, and Kasper fits that description. The 2022 eighth-overall pick is having a strong season with Rogle BK Angelholm of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL), as he has seven goals and 19 points in 36 games. This is excellent from an 18-year-old center playing against professional talent. Furthermore, he also has increased his production quite noticeably compared to last season, as he had 11 points in 46 SHL games. Overall, he has the tools to potentially become a top-six forward, so the Coyotes would surely demand him in any move centering around Chychrun.
With Chychrun being a defenseman, the Coyotes would also likely want a notable prospect of the same position. The Red Wings will not even consider the idea of trading Simon Edvinsson, but perhaps Wallinder would make sense. The fellow left-shot defenseman is playing quite well with Rogle BK this season, as he has 23 points in 36 games. That is very good production from the point, so it would make sense for the Coyotes to want him added in a blockbuster for Chychrun.
In the end, this move would have the potential to be a real win for both teams. The Red Wings would acquire a star defenseman for both the present and future that would be a perfect match to play with Seider. Meanwhile, the Coyotes would land some quality assets that would help their rebuilding stage. Alas, we will need to wait and see if these two clubs end up striking a blockbuster from here.
Michael DeRosa is a contributor who covers the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, & Detroit Red Wings for The Hockey Writers. Since 2017, he’s written and edited for numerous websites. Besides his work for THW, you can also find him on NHL Trade Rumors.