NHL Rumours: Vancouver Canucks, Chicago Blackhawks, Arizona Coyotes

NHL Rumours
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Welcome to another edition of NHL Rumours from the crew at Last Word On Hockey. We’re nearing the end of the regular season and teams are gearing up for what they hope is a lengthy playoff run. However, the teams who are out of the playoff hunt are now looking toward the NHL Draft Lottery and towards the offseason. In today’s NHL Rumours segment, we focus on rumours surrounding the Vancouver Canucks, Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes.

All NHL rumours come from their original sources and are subject to change.

NHL Rumours

Vancouver Canucks

Rumour: In an article for The Athletic, Harman Dayal examines the future of Brock Boeser.

Analysis: As Dayal points out, the Canucks find themselves in a sticky situation. Boeser is set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the season. His qualifying offer is a whopping $7.5 million. Based on this season, that’s a massive overpayment. Boeser’s production dipped this season, scoring 21 goals and 44 points in 66 games. Comparing that to his 2020-21 season where he scored 23 goals and 49 points in 56 games, it’s almost a 20-point dip over the course of an 82-game season. That’s a drastic dip in production when you’re considering having the pay the player almost $2 million more than you are right now.

So what do the Canucks do? In a perfect world, they get Boeser to agree to a number that starts with six. Boeser can blame injuries and just an off-year for a dip in production. Which, is fair enough. He has scored over 20 goals every season since entering the league (minus the shortened 2020-21 season, which was conveniently his best season) and he has also produced over 50 points while appearing in less than 70 games each year. However, that’s the argument the Canucks can make. The oft-injured Boeser could become a liability as he ages as he has yet to complete a full regular season. Locking him up long-term could end up hurting the Canucks.

Trade Boeser?

Then there is the option to trade Boeser. Which has its own obstacles. First of all, whatever team acquires Boeser, faces the qualifying offer debacle. Second, trading a player when his value is at his lowest is not a recipe for success. While surely the Canucks should still be able to get a respectable offer for a 25-year-old, 20-plus goal scorer, it’s not the same type of offer they would have gotten a season ago. This would certainly leave a sour taste in general manager Patrik Allvin’s mouth.

There’s no easy route for the Canucks to take regarding Boeser. It’s a story that is likely going to drag out during the off-season.

Chicago Blackhawks

Rumour: During his media availability, Alex DeBrincat was asked about his future with the Blackhawks. He responded by saying he was open to anything.

Analysis: The “open to anything” comment could be quickly taken out of context as he didn’t come out and say straight up he was looking to extend with the team. However, we believe that’s what he meant. Despite a frustrating year and knowing they’re in rebuild mode, DeBrincat mentioned he very much wants to help the club accelerate the rebuild and get the Blackhawks back to Cup contention.

Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane‘s contracts will expire at the end of next season. Considering the club is looking at a rebuild, it’s very likely we see one if not both players moved next season prior to the trade deadline. This would certainly help accelerate the rebuild in Chicago. Grabbing some additional first-round picks in a stacked 2023 draft would certainly do the job for the Blackhawks. Also, with those two contracts off the board at the end of the season, it opens up a ton of cash to get DeBrincat locked in. DeBrincat has become one of the premier goal scorers in the league. He currently sits at 41 goals, which ties a previous career-high and has set a new career-high in points with 77 with two games remaining. It’s very possible we see DeBrincat hit 80 points on the season.

Using evolving-hockey.com‘s contract projection tool, they see DeBrincat signing a six-year deal with an AAV of $7.747 million. That would be about a $1.3 million raise from his current salary, which isn’t too bad for the Blackhawks, all things considered.

Given his comments, all signs point to DeBrincat re-signing in Chicago. Of course, you wouldn’t expect him to say anything different, would you? So we will have to see where contract talks go in the off-season.

Arizona Coyotes

Rumour: In a recent mailbag segment, Craig Morgan was asked about the future of Jakob Chychrun with the Coyotes.

Analysis: Morgan mentions that he doesn’t believe that Chychrun will want to waste three years of his prime playing time as part of a rebuild. So the Coyotes have a decision to make regarding the blueliner. However, they are in no rush, nor do they have to move the 24-year-old blueliner. Chychrun is still locked up for the next three seasons at a very cap-friendly $4.6 million. This boosts his trade value for the Coyotes.

Given the fact that he had a down year production-wise scoring seven goals and 21 points in 47 games compared to the 18 goals and 41 points in 56 games the year prior and suffered a season-ending injury, his trade value certainly isn’t as high as it once was. The Coyotes could elect to wait and bet on Chychrun bouncing back to form and boosting his trade value before they decide to move him.

Given his stature, there will be teams lining up to try to acquire his services regardless. There will most likely be a bidding war. It’s a situation where the Coyotes will be winners no matter what they do. All signs point to them trading the young blueliner. However, don’t expect them to make a deal just for the sake of making one. This will be a long, well-thought-out process and you can fully expect Bill Armstrong to hit the jackpot on whatever deal he ends up making for Chychrun.

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