Oilers Going Back and Forth on Trade for Big-Name Defenseman


During a recent segment on Oilers Now, Elliotte Friedman and Bob Stauffer talked about trade deadline options for the Edmonton Oilers. Jakob Chychrun‘s name came up, as it often does when insiders talk about the priority the Oilers have placed in acquiring a left-shot defenseman on the roster. Stauffer didn’t say that the Oilers were having conversations with the Arizona Coyotes about Chychrun specifically, but Stauffer is known for being very plugged into what the Oilers are thinking and when he mentions any specific player, there is usually a reason. So too, there are reports the Oilers and Coyotes are already talking trade when it comes to other names on Arizona’s roster. Chychrun’s name popping into the conversation would be logical.

Stauffer said, “3 months ago I would’ve said no on Chychrun, 2 months ago I would’ve said probably not. Now I’m thinking, if you’re going to trade something, might as well be for something good.” Friedman followed up and said he’s been up and down about how interested the Oilers are in the player. At times, he believes there’s been serious interest. At other times, he believes the Oilers aren’t actually planning on taking that big a swing at this season’s NHL Trade Deadline.

What does all of this mean?

Frank Seravalli has Chychrun at No. 3 on his most recent trade bait board and Chychrun and Oilers fans have been talking about him since it was reported the defenseman had requested a trade. Insiders linked the Oilers to the player, but many noted that the price was going to be too high and that the Oilers already had players on this team that filled the kind of role Chychrun would best serve. It was believed the Oilers wouldn’t fork over the two first-round picks, plus to grab a player that they didn’t necessarily “need.”

Jakob Chychrun Arizona Coyotes
Jakob Chychrun, Arizona Coyotes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

That said, if Stauffer is suggesting the Oilers should go get “something good” should they spend the assets, one can only assume he’s hinting the price on other players that aren’t near the level of Chychrun’s talent are also expensive. If the Oilers are going to have to give up a ton of assets because the asking price for all defensemen is high, maybe the Oilers are thinking about getting the best player available, especially if the increased cost is marginal.

For example, if the Oilers are looking at someone like Jake McCabe out of Chicago, but the ask is a first-rounder plus, why not get the exponentially better player in Chycrhun and give up the other first, or something of equivalent value? If Edmonton has been thinking about Joel Edmundson, but Montreal is holding out for a first-rounder, why not spend the extra asset and get the far superior player?

Is Chyrchun Worth The Risk?

If the Oilers take a swing — Friedman is not sure they will — getting Chychrun means Ken Holland has grabbed arguably the best defenseman on the market. Chychrun will be locked in on a good value deal for two more seasons after this one and he’ll be an integral part of the team’s top four until the end of the 2024-25 season. That’s the positive.

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The negative is that he’ll likely push one of Philip Broberg or Brett Kulak off of the roster and there’s some injury history that is cause for concern. Chyrchun has lived up to his end of the deal in Arizona where he’s come back and played extremely well after a serious injury had many questioning how effective he would be. He’s earned the right to get another look on a competitive team, but there’s no guarantee injuries won’t be a factor moving forward. That too has to concern the Oilers, especially if they’re giving up on a player like Broberg to make this work.

Whether there is real interest from an Oilers’ perspective is not a certainty. Word is that Holland has checked in almost everyone and Chychrun is probably on that list. The Oilers going back and forth here wouldn’t be surprising. This is a huge decision. It’s one that costs a number of assets, it means pushing back a player the team has been patient on in Broberg, and the roster is already pretty good.

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