NHL Rumours: The Olympics, Arizona Coyotes and Dallas Stars

NHL Rumours

Today on NHL rumours, we look at some updates about the NHL’s participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics, the Arizona Coyotes putting Jakob Chychrun on the trade block and teams interested in trading for Anton Khudobin, let’s dive in!

NHL Rumours

The 2022 Winter Olympics

Rumour: Pierre LeBrun writes that the NHL players had a sobering meeting with the NHLPA about the possible five-week isolation rules in China if they test positive with COVID at the Olympics.  The league itself might be in a situation to pull out if they have to postpone too many games. 

Analysis: There are two ways the NHL can pull out of the Olympics. The players decide or the league decides. Gary Bettman told LeBrun the league wants to honour their CBA agreement with the players and allow them to go to the Olympics. The NHLPA had a meeting with the players on Monday and another one on Wednesday discussing this topic. LeBrun reported that no player on Monday said out-right that they didn’t want to go, but the organization is still evaluating their options.

Some players are talking. Robin Lehner said he’s out.  Alex Pietrangelo is not happy with the idea of possibly being stuck in China for over a month when he has a young family, while Connor McDavid called the situation, “unsettling.” Both Pietrangelo and McDavid are already named to Team Canada.

The second option is that the league pulls out. LeBrun reports that will only happen if the league postpones too many games and is forced to dip into the Olympic break to make them up. So far, the Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes have all had games postponed because of outbreaks. Right now, the Nashville Predators, Vancouver Canucks and Florida Panthers all have at least four players in the protocol.  With the omicron variant being the most contagious out of any so far, the possibility exists for more postponements.

This story is developing quickly, so there will be more updates in future NHL rumours articles.

Arizona Coyotes

Rumour: Elliotte Freidman wrote in his 32 Thoughts blog that the Arizona Coyotes are gauging the market on Jakob Chychrun. The ask is massive but teams aren’t running away. Later on The Jeff Marek Show, Freidman discussed the Edmonton Oilers being a suitor for Chychrun. 

Analysis: The Arizona Coyotes are doing a scorched earth rebuild and it’s highly likely they will still be going through it when Jakob Chychrun‘s contract is up in three years. If they can project that he doesn’t want to stay, it makes sense to trade him now when they can get the largest return.

Many teams will be interested in a young, strong and skilled defenceman. Edmonton should be a top contender for Chychrun. A large asking price shouldn’t deter the Oilers. They need to build a contending team around mega-stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and they have problems keeping the puck out of their net. Their general manager said so himself in Freidman’s blog.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson fetched the Coyotes Conor Garland and the 9th pick in 2021. Therefore, the ask for Chychrun will be a first, a young player and a top prospect at least.  I can see the Oilers offering a first-round pick, Kailer Yamamoto and Philip Broberg, but I think the Coyotes will push for Evan Bouchard over Broberg. However, it is highly unlikely Edmonton moves Bouchard with the season he’s having. I also expect the Coyotes to ask for more later-round draft pick compensation. The Oilers will include Tyson Barrie to fit Chychrun under their salary cap

Until the Coyotes move Chychrun, this will be a developing story to keep an eye on in NHL rumours.

Dallas Stars

Rumour: Pierre LeBrun tweeted that teams are interested in trading for Dallas Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin who just passed through waivers. They want Dallas to eat some of his contract or take a bad contract in return. 

Analysis: Anton Khudobin lost his job in Dallas to Braden Holtby and Jake Oettinger. Both Holtby and Ottinger have over a .920 save percentage while Khudobin has a .873 percentage in seven games. Khudobin had an excellent three-year run between 2018-2022, with save percentages of .913, .923 and .930. Capped off with backstopping the Stars to the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals with a .917 save percentage. He’s fallen since then, but he can still re-find his game.

There are a few teams I can see trading for Khudobin. One is the Buffalo Sabres. I think they would prefer a trade because they have too many goalies after acquiring Malcolm Subban. One will have to go back to Dallas. The Colorado Avalanche is another strong contender to grab Khudobin if Dallas eats money. The Avalanche will have to pay a higher price because they’re in the Stars division. However, Colorado knows what Khudobin is capable of in the playoffs after Dallas eliminated them in 2020.

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images