Jakob Chychrun healthy scratched indefinitely, and is Erik Karlsson going to the Oilers?: Around the League

Photo credit:© James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
1 year ago
Welcome back to Around the League — the series here at CanucksArmy where we deliver you all the latest news and notes from around the NHL, oftentimes through a Vancouver Canucks-tinted lens.
After last week’s flurry of news in the form of trades and signings of extensions, today’s column will be a bit more rumour-focused. Not many of these are Canucks-related, although the second entry presents a situation that at least makes you go “huh” if you’re a Canucks fan. So with that, let’s get into it!
Chychrun healthy scratched indefinitely for trade-related reasons
It sure seems like Jakob Chychrun has played his final game as a member of the Arizona Coyotes.
On Monday afternoon, Coyotes head coach Andre Tourigny was blunt in saying Chychrun will remain out of the lineup “until something happens”. On Saturday, the Coyotes held Chychrun out of the lineup for what they openly called trade-related reasons.
Daily Faceoff NHL insider Frank Seravalli linked Chychrun to the LA Kings, but that deal has reportedly hit a snag, meaning that other teams are now back in the mix.
Having been on the trade block since the start of the 2021–22 season, Chychrun, the 16th overall pick of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, is under contract with the Coyotes at a $4.6 million cap hit through the end of the 2024–25 season. His deal does not include any trade or movement protection.
The 24-year-old defenceman has seven goals and 28 total points while averaging 23:16 of ice time through 36 games with the Coyotes this season.
When and where will he go? This will be an intriguing situation to follow because the longer it goes on, the more the rest vs. rust debate may enter the minds of any acquiring teams who are looking to add Chychrun ahead of a playoff race.
Additionally, 27-year-old Vladislav Gavrikov is going to be healthy scratched for trade-related reasons as well, as the Columbus Blue Jackets exercise caution with what’s been known for months to be their biggest trade chip.
The only Canucks spin on this one is whether the Canucks will follow suit and scratch Luke Schenn as the deadline approaches. Trade rumours with Schenn are heating up, and it certainly wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world to protect the asset.
Vitali Kravtsov scratched
It feels like we just did this with Alexis Lafreniere and the New York Rangers, but it’s a little bit different with Vitali Kravtsov, who’s up and down relationship with the Rangers has already been very well-documented.
Kravtsov was selected 9th overall by New York in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Prior to this season, he played in just 20 games with the Rangers, and spent the entirety of last season in the KHL. The two sides agreed to give it another go this year, but the young Russian doesn’t mesh well with Gerard Gallant, it would seem.
Lately, Kravtsov has found himself as a healthy scratch, and all indications out of New York are that both club and player agree a change of scenery is best.
Could Kravtsov be a buy-low option and an example of the type of player coming off of an ELC that Rutherford expressed interest in acquiring?
Is Erik Karlsson going to the Edmonton Oilers?
It seems anyone in Edmonton can talk about right now is the prospect of the Oilers acquiring Erik Karlsson from the San Jose Sharks.
Now, Karlsson’s cap-hit of $11.5 million over the next four seasons (not including this one) is obviously the biggest obstacle in the Sharks moving Karlsson, and it’s the biggest obstacle for any team hoping to acquire this year’s likely Norris-Trophy winner to navigate.
It doesn’t feel super realistic, but sometimes when there’s smoke, there’s fire, and right now, it feels like no team is being connected to Karlsson more than the Oilers are right now.
An interesting thing to note is that Oilers players have apparently made it clear to management that they want puck movers on the back end. Here’s what Friedman had to say in the latest 32 Thoughts: The Podcast:
“If you remember, we interviewed Leon Draisaitl at (the) NHL All-Star (game)… He said ‘we don’t like to talk about these things. There are people paid to make these decisons. Yes, we give our opinions.’
“From what I understand, one of the things the Oilers players have made very clear is if they make a trade, they want to make sure it’s somebody who can get the puck out of the zone. Not just bang it off the glass, but move it. The Oilers feel they’re a better team when they have that kind of player back there… I believe the Oilers are listening, at least, to their top players who said “we prefer puck-moving” and they’re going to look into that. The best puck-mover available is Erik Karlsson.”
Along with Karlsson, Chychrun has been linked to the Oilers in the past, and given the cap gymnastics that would be involved in any deal involving Karlsson’s contract, Chychrun may be an easier player for the Oilers to pivot their focus towards.
Will the Oilers make a big move to improve their blueline ahead of the March 3rd Trade Deadline? The Pacific Division is wide open, and the Oilers are right there when it comes to the playoff bar. Their players have made it clear they want the help, and if I’m the Oilers, I’m doing my best to not piss off my generational talent and his best buddy, who can also put up 100 points per season in his sleep.

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