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Insider Trading: Positional strength makes Chychrun a valued trade asset

Jakob Chychrun Ottawa Senators Jakob Chychrun

Host James Duthie is joined by TSN Hockey Insiders Darren Dreger, Chris Johnston, and Pierre LeBrun to discuss trade rumours surrounding Jakob Chychrun in Ottawa, the Los Angeles Kings’ plans to get out of a rut, whether the Nashville Predators will put Juuse Saros on the market, and more on Insider Trading.

Within a year of the Ottawa Senators acquiring Jakob Chychrun, could he be on the move again?

Darren Dreger: Yeah, he could be, but it’s a positional decision if [general manager] Steve Staios and the Senators decide to go down that road. 

Just look at the financials here for a moment, you have Thomas Chabot and Jake Sanderson both under long-term contracts who are two left-shot defencemen, like Chychrun, making $8 million.

Staios and company like Chychrun. He’s got a year left after this year on his contract before it expires. There is some work left that would have to get done, perhaps as early as the off-season.

Here’s what’s interesting, teams are calling on Chychrun, so obviously Staios has to listen. It would take a substantial offer and I’m not sure it gets done by the deadline, but I think the listening continues this summer.

How hot is the heat with the Los Angeles Kings after winning only once in their last 10 games?

Chris Johnston: It’s getting turned up. It’s never a good sign when you’re the general manager in Rob Blake getting asked publicly about if he’s thinking about firing his head coach, in this case Todd McLellan. 

On this day, Blake told reporters that it’s not something that even remotely crossed his mind. But I think it’s a sign of where things are at with that team, who have won one of their last 10 games entering play on Thursday. 

There’s not a lot of help on the horizon in terms of trade action because the Kings do not have much cap room at this point in time. McLellan just signed an extension just before the start of the regular season through next year and he’s had a lot of success there. 

They’re going to try to keep things as positive as they can and get out of this themselves.

Is there any possibility that the Nashville Predators would move Juuse Saros instead of extending him?

Pierre LeBrun: There is a possibility and it’s amazing that those words are coming out of my mouth because Nashville has been so steady in saying their only plan is to extend Saros this summer.

It remains the No. 1 plan, but what has changed since the start of the year is the number of teams that are desperate to upgrade their goaltending. Because of that, I’m told that the Predators feel that they have no choice but to listen to teams if they put in a serious, serious offer.

What I mean by that is don’t put down a couple of first-round picks, which would be in the low 20s for the Predators, that’s not going to get [general manager] Barry Trotz to blink.

Let’s take the Kings as an example, if they put down a name like Quinton Byfield as part of a package, that would get the attention of the Predators, or any organization if they want to get in on Saros.

It’s a huge name and they still intend on signing him but it’s something to monitor before March 8.

With the Calgary Flames’ recent four-game winning streak putting them back into playoff contention, how does that affect general manager Craig Conroy’s dealings before the trade deadline?

Darren Dreger: It definitely does, especially if you look at this week and the games ahead with two tough matchups against the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Edmonton Oilers. They have a total of five games before the All-Star break.

Look at [defenceman] Noah Hanifin, for example. It’s not out of the question that he could extend with the Flames. I think that determination will be made soon after the All-Star break.

But if things don’t go well in the near future, maybe that pushes Conroy into making a decision well in advance of March 8. Conversely, if they do go well and they’re winning games and staying in the mix, maybe Conroy will push the decision closer to the March 8 deadline.

There’s a lot of talk about Jake Guentzel’s future with the Pittsburgh Penguins, what’s the latest there?

Pierre LeBrun: [Team president and general manager] Kyle Dubas came out this week in his weekly radio appearance and said that he has not had any trade discussions with any other teams, and I think that’s absolutely true.

What he can’t say is what he’s going to end up doing because I think this is one of the toughest decisions of the entire trade deadline as a pending unrestricted free agent.

This is an aging team. Can you give this guy an eight-year contract to go with all the other long-term commitments with this aging core?

Dubas has said the second-half performance of this team will dictate what he does with Guentzel, but they’re right on the bubble which makes it a tough call.

Amazon appears to be taking a dip into the NHL, could this be a sign of things to come?

Chris Johnston: Yes, it’s like looking into the future, I believe.

On Wednesday, it was announced that Amazon is going to try to invest in Diamond Sports, an entity that is in bankruptcy court, that would see professional sports and local games put on Amazon Prime.

I think when the NHL looks ahead to their national TV contracts, there’s only two more seasons beyond this one in Canada and four more seasons in the United States. They are expecting a lot of interest in streaming services so we should all get accustomed to a shift in the media landscape.