June 22, 2024

Shocking news: Lightning interested in canadian defenceman, player keen on move.

There will be no shortage of options on the table for the Ottawa Senators leading up to the National Hockey League trade deadline, set for Friday at 3 p.m. EST.

Could Jakob Chychrun go from California Dreamin’ to the Sunshine State? Anything is possible at this time of year.

That will only happen if Steve Staios, the club’s president of hockey operations and general manager, makes the decision that he wants to trade the 25-year-old Chychrun because the Senators have an offer they can’t refuse, and it’s fair to say the club isn’t in any hurry to make a trade on that front.

As the Senators went for a twirl at the Honda Center on Tuesday to prepare for Wednesday night’s game against the Anaheim Ducks, Staios continued to work the phones with the deadline looming large.

The organization’s goal at this deadline isn’t to make short-term gains — the Senators want to get pieces in place they feel will help them make the next step to return to the playoffs and to compete for a Stanley Cup.

There is a belief in league circles that if the Florida Panthers or Tampa Bay Lightning fail in their attempts to acquire defenceman Noah Hanifin of the Calgary Flames in the coming days, they could step up their efforts to make a deal for Chychrun.

Acquired by former GM Pierre Dorion last March from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for a 2023 first-round pick, a conditional second-round pick in this draft and a second-round selection in 2026, Chychrun’s name surfaced last month.

TSN’s Darren Dreger reported Monday the activity on Chychrun has increased in the last couple of days, but stated that “doesn’t mean there’s a deal to be made.”

That won’t stop teams from asking and, just for good measure, Chychrun moved to No. 5 on TSN’s Trade Bait board.

While Staios hasn’t been actively trying to deal Chychrun, his name came out because some teams headed for the post-season value the fact he could be part of two playoff runs and reached out to the Senators to try to see what the club would expect in return.

The Senators acquired him last spring when they were only three points out of the post-season because they felt he could be a valuable asset for a playoff push for three years. This season has gone completely off the rails, and now Staios is studying all his options.

Chychrun, who has one season left on a deal that carries a cap hit of $4.6 million U.S., will make $7 million in real cash next year and has a $1-million signing bonus due on July 1, 2024.

He has nine goals and 31 points in 59 games this season, but is ranked second-last on the Senators with a plus/minus rating of minus-15, which is also worst among the club’s defencemen.

Naturally, interest from the Panthers makes some sense. Chychrun’s father Jeff, a former NHLer, is a colour analyst on the Florida broadcast team, the family makes its home in the area and Chychrun grew up there.

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”A league executive told Postmedia on Tuesday that the Senators likely would want a first-round pick and more in return for Chychrun, but you would think the asking price would at least include someone who can take up the valuable minutes he plays.

That’s why the best bet for the Senators may be to wait until the summer to determine what’s next for Chychrun. He could be a valuable asset the club could move during the off-season and that might get them a better return.

“They would have to try to maximize the return,” a league executive said Tuesday. “No playoff-bound team is going to have an extra defenceman.

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