Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said last week that he’d be open to trading the team’s seventh overall pick for an “impact player that can help (them) right away.” New Jersey Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald shared that sentiment in early May, albeit before his team moved up from No. 5 to No. 2 in the lottery.
With teams evidently ready to get aggressive to improve, a few impact players might be available – and we’re not talking about aging veterans or pending unrestricted free agents.
Below, we explore five young(ish), controllable players who could get dealt this summer.
Jakob Chychrun, Coyotes
Contract: 3 years, $4.6M AAV
This is no surprise. Chychrun was widely expected to move at the 2022 trade deadline, but a lower-body injury in March threw a wrench in those plans and ruled him out for the remainder of the season.
The Arizona Coyotes’ steep asking price from earlier in the season (reportedly in the range the Buffalo Sabres received for Jack Eichel) may have played a role in why a deal was never made.
It seems more than likely Chychrun is dealt this summer, though. As he inches closer to the end of his bargain deal, his value will never be higher than it is now.
Yes, this is in spite of Chychrun coming off a down season in which he tallied 21 points in 47 games. The year prior, he finished 10th in Norris Trophy voting after registering 18 goals and 23 assists in 56 contests. However, his defensive metrics were still stellar despite playing for one of the league’s worst teams.
Chychrun offers a coveted blend of size, mobility, and two-way prowess. If he isn’t a bona fide No. 1 defenseman, he’s one of the better No. 2s in the league. Given his position and contract, he’s the most valuable player on this list.
Kevin Fiala, Wild
It’s going to be extremely difficult for the Minnesota Wild to re-sign Fiala this summer. After setting career highs in goals (33), assists (52), and points (85), the Swiss winger will look to cash in. His qualifying offer will be $5.1 million, but he could demand upward of $8 million per season on a long-term deal.
Thanks to the ballooning buyout cap hits for Zach Parise and Ryan Suter over the next three years, the Wild project to have just $7.4 million in cap space for 2022-23. Plus, they need to add a goalie to pair with Cam Talbot if they can’t bring back Marc-Andre Fleury.
The Wild could clear cap space for Fiala if they move a high-earner like Matt Dumba ($6-million cap hit, UFA after next season) or trade away multiple players in the $1-million-to-$3-million range and replace them with skaters making the league minimum.
Regardless, it’ll be a tall task. GM Bill Guerin said he doesn’t know if the team can bring Fiala back. If the Wild don’t act fast to trade him, they could lose him to an offer sheet they can’t afford to match.