After needing another top-four defenceman for years, the Ottawa Senators finally added a proven NHL talent to bolster their blue line to help them make a playoff push.
The highly coveted defenseman they acquired, former Arizona Coyotes’ defender Jakob Chychrun, 24, is one of the best, most proven, and most talented young defensemen in the NHL. He is arguably a top 10 defenseman in the league and is one of the biggest names on the NHL trade deadline bait list.
Many teams have been rumored to acquire Chychrun for the last several months. The Senators were able to acquire him for a top-five protected 2023 first-round pick, a conditional second-round pick in 2024, and a second-round pick in 2026.
Arguably, the best part of the deal is that the Senators didn’t have to give up any roster players or any of their young offensive prospects like Shane Pinto or Ridly Greig. This is critical for the Senators’ offensive success this season and in future seasons because they are lacking depth in their bottom six forwards, particularly at center – where Pinto and Greig both play – so the Senators need all the help they can get to bolster their bottom six. Pinto and Greig both play a vital role in doing so, meaning the Senators can’t afford to lose either of them.
“A defenceman we’ve coveted, Jakob is big and plays imposing. He possesses a quality skill set; he defends hard and is highly skilled. He uses his heavy shot with accuracy and is effective at creating offence as a threat at the offensive blue line,” General Manager Dorion, who was extremely thrilled to bring in Chychrun, said in a press conference.
Chychrun is a physical specimen, who isn’t afraid to throw his body around to make a play, forechecks well, creates turnovers, is speedy for his size, and has the passing and shooting ability to get involved offensively, especially on special teams.
Chychrun has been sidelined since February 10 for trade-related reasons and in 36 games this season he has 21 assists and 28 points in 36 games played and can get pucks to the net, recording 114 shots on goal this season.
The Senators acquired Chychrun for quite the bargain. Arizona’s General Manager Bill Armstrong originally wanted two first-round picks and a high-level prospect in return for Chychrun, but because a handful of contenders dropped out of the sweepstakes after acquiring other defenders and the because Senators didn’t require Arizona to retain any salary, the Senators were able to get the deal done at a lower price.
Chychrun will make an immediate impact on Ottawa’s blue line and help them win games down the stretch to compete for a playoff spot. The Senators won the last three games, including beating Detroit 6-2 and 6-1 in two consecutive games on February 27 and 28, respectively. They now only sit five points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins who hold the final wildcard spot in the East.
Chychrun will likely slot into Ottawa’s first defensive pairing with Jake Sanderson; Thomas Chabot and Artem Zub will form the second line and Eric Branstromm will pair with Travis Hamonic on the third line.
Chychrun is under contract until the end of the 2024-25 season, at an average annual value of $4.6 million per year, and will be 27 years old if the Senators decide to resign him in 2025. He is a quality player who can make an impact in Ottawa for years to come.
Great move by Pierre Dorion and the Senators’ management. Grade: A+ (A++ if they sign him to a good-value, long-term deal in 2025).