SNAPSHOTS: Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong says he made best deal possible for Chychrun

“It’s hard to trade a player when he comes out of a season where he was minus 20, he was terrible and then you throw in an injury history.”

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Bill Armstrong came to his own defense over his decision to trade his top defenseman for draft picks to the Ottawa Senators.

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In a speech on the St. Louis-based Cam and Strick Podcast, the Arizona Coyotes general manager told the hosts Cam Janssen, a former NHLer and Andy Strickland the deal Armstrong made with the senators for Blueliner Jacob Chychrun was the best available.

The Senators acquired Chychrun on March 1 in exchange for a conditional first-round selection in 2023, a conditional second-round selection in 2024, and a second-round selection in 2026. Talks between these two teams continued several months.

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Many were shocked, general manager of Ottawa Pierre Dorion was not forced to give up one of the club’s top prospects. It is believed that the Coyotes asked for it Mads Sogaard, Shane Pinto And Ridly Greig at various points during the conversation.

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Armstrong told the podcast that those who criticize the trade don’t know the full story.

“It’s interesting because I read an article about how we mocked the great saga, how we screwed that up and it just went on forever,” Armstrong said this week. “But people skim over that again and don’t really understand that Jakob was injured for eight months. He asked for a trade (in November 2021) and was violated on the deadline (in 2022).

“It’s hard to trade a player when he’s coming off a season where he was minus 20, he’s been awful and then you throw in injury history from before and then you throw in injury history now and he’s down for eight months out. People say we dragged this through the mud. No, we tried to determine the value.”

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That sounds a bit like sour grapes from Armstrong, and while the two sides parted on good terms when the deal went through, there was clearly frustration at the situation.

Chychrun returned from off-season wrist surgery in late November and was solid. He had seven goals and 28 points in 36 games before being traded to the Senators. He went into the game against the Oilers Tuesday night in Edmonton with two goals and four points in four games.

“We had a team that would have traded for Jakob in the draft, and Jakob didn’t want to go there,” Armstrong said. “That made it extremely awkward because the team didn’t want to spend some assets and bring in a player who didn’t want to go there.”

Postmedia reported last year that the team was the Columbus Blue Jackets and it is believed the two sides finalized the framework for a deal before he died at the draft level in Montreal. The Jackets were reluctant to complete the deal unless the club viewed Chychrun as fully committed.

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“This saga has dragged on, but it has dragged on, but mostly because of the eight-month injury, and people need to remember that,” Armstrong added.

Armstrong said the deal with the Senators was spot on because Dorion didn’t ask the Coyotes to take any money back. Ottawa could have got defenders Nikita Zaitsevs $4.5 million contract off the books by sending him to the Chicago Blackhawks a week earlier.

“People talk about the value we got back. We could have busted it and we would have gotten two late first rounds and we would have had to take money back; from $3.1 million to $5.1 million. Why would we do that for two late premieres? said Armstrong.

“With the deal we got with Ottawa, we’re going to pick somewhere between No. 11 and No. 15, and if we’re lucky we’d pick No. 6. Also, we didn’t take any money back. The value of the choices we got is high. People skim and think every first round pick has equal value. It doesn’t; this one (from the senators) has a higher value.

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“We have two great second-round picks and no money attached to them. That allows us to sign free agents in the summer or get more bad deals to create more assets.”

Both sides are happy and that is the most important thing in any trade.


As Postmedia reported on Monday, Rocco Tullio, the owner of OHL’s Oshawa Generals has made its own bid to buy the Senators, but it has partners.

He had spoken to the Toronto billionaire about an offer Michael Andlauer, but in the end they could not agree. Tullio, a Windsor-based billionaire, wants to become a majority owner if he is successful in buying the Senators.

The word is that Tullio has a US-based backer who helped him put his offer together. Don’t forget that he offered to buy the Senators from the late Eugene Melnyk before he died of a long illness in March 2022.

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We’re also told that at least one of the five bids this newspaper has confirmed has made an offer that put the franchise’s whopping sum of more than $900 million on the table. However, remember that this is a no-obligation offer and the rubber will hit the streets as the groups get shortlisted.

A league insider noted on Tuesday that the huge supply only “pumps up the asking price” for the serious parties who may not have gone there yet. Galatioto Sports Partners is reviewing applications with NHL headquarters and a shortlist will be available soon.

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