With the NHL trade deadline rapidly approaching, fans of the Detroit Red Wings have already started scouring trade boards for possible targets at the deadline. One name that frequents most lists is Arizona Coyotes left-shot defenseman Jakob Chychrun.
Is it extremely unlikely that Chychrun ends up with a team still mired in a rebuild like Detroit? Sure. But the Red Wings have Steve Yzerman at the helm, one of the more unpredictable general managers in the league. Detroit has the cap space and capital to pull the trigger if Yzerman really wants Chychrun.
So with that out of the way, let’s jump in and analyze Chychrun as a hockey player.
Through 47 games, Chychrun has seven goals and 14 assists. According to Evolving-Hockey, his goals above replacement is currently at 0.3 (2.3 expected) and his wins above replacement is at 0.1 (0.4 expected). Chychrun’s possession metrics are slightly more impressive, with his Corsi-for relative percentage currently sitting at 4.3 and his Fenwick-for relative at 5.
None of these stats really stick out as elite, but they are solid considering he’s still just 23. However, this isn’t Chychrun’s best year. Last season, his statistics were significantly better – a 8.6 GAR and 1.5 WAR are perhaps the most impressive.
According to most metrics, Chychrun is a solid defenseman. Last season, he illustrated just how good he can be in the right situation. While he’s regressed a bit this year, Chychrun could very well return to form in a different environment. He’s a well-rounded defenseman, with a toolkit that provides offensive upside – and he’s only 23. While he’s not at the level of a Adam Fox or Cale Makar (or even Moritz Seider) there’s a reason he’s one of the more desirable pieces likely to be moved by or at the deadline.
So why would the Red Wings target a player like Chychrun? Well, firstly, he plays a major position of need for the team. The left side of the Red Wings blue line is pretty rough this year. Nick Leddy hasn’t been as good as expected, Marc Staal may be the best option and players like Jordan Oesterle and Olli Juolevi are best as the seventh defenseman. Prospects like Eemil Viro and Simon Edvinsson are on there way, but the team needs all they can get on the left side.
Chychrun also fits the Red Wings timeline. At 23, he’s still quite young and should hypothetically enter his prime as Detroit enters its playoff window.
And, of course, Chychrun is a great player. He’s having just a decent season, but he’s capable of more (last season proved that).
Again, is it likely that Detroit ends up with Chychrun? No. Yzerman has shown a proclivity for acquiring talent like this through the draft and not overpaying at the deadline. However, don’t count it out completely. The Red Wings have a solid amount of draft capital and a wealth of mid-tier prospects.