ARIZONA COYOTES

GM: Jakob Chychrun trade ‘probably the best deal’ for Coyotes

Mar 2, 2023, 5:49 PM

General manager Bill Armstrong of the Arizona Coyotes prepares for the first round of the 2021 NHL ...

General manager Bill Armstrong of the Arizona Coyotes prepares for the first round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft at Gila River Arena on July 23, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by NHL Images/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by NHL Images/NHLI via Getty Images)

There had been conversations between the Coyotes and every general manager in the league for the last year and a half about star defenseman Jakob Chychrun, and after getting a deal done to send him to the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday, another major step has been taken on the rebuild staircase.

After getting a 2023 conditional first-round pick, 2024 conditional second-round pick and an additional 2026 second-round pick from the Senators in return for the defenseman, the Coyotes are not backing down from their strategy of stockpiling draft picks.

“This will give us the chance at two fairly high picks in the draft, in the first round, and you can really make some hay when you do that as an organization like we did last year and we’re looking to do it again this year,” Armstrong told reporters Wednesday afternoon. “It also helps us plan out the rest of our rebuild and adding picks in 2024 and 2026 and so that just helps us further stock our picks for future drafts.

“This deal was probably the best deal for us in the ways that the picks lie and how high that pick could be along with the other picks.”

It’s publicly known that Chychrun had asked to be traded before the season began. Last year, Armstrong tried to get a deal done but couldn’t find the right one due to Chychrun being injured at the time.

“Jakob was a first class act,” Armstrong said. “He had expressed his interest to move on to a club that was a contender. We were trying to do that in the trade. We had immense respect for the player and his wishes at the same time. We had to make sure it was the best for the club.

“So in this particular case, when you’re having conversations with the player, you tell them, ‘Hey, I understand your concerns. We’re doing the best that we can.’ … He gets a chance to go play in Ottawa and a chance to lead that team and help them get into the playoffs. It will be a great challenge and he’s going to be a great add for that team.”

Last week, Armstrong said Arizona is 40% into the rebuild timeline, and the Chychrun trade would further propel that percentage. Armstrong admitted that this was the best trade that could have been made, and believes in the core that is there now.

The Coyotes will look to their young core of Clayton Keller (24), Nick Schmaltz (27) and Karel Vejmelka (26), who are all under contract beyond this season, to lead an ongoing rebuild.

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