Maple Leafs: Weighting the Risks vs Rewards of acquiring Jakob Chychrun

With the All Star break over now, the focus is shifted back to the business at hand. However during the All Star break, Arizona star defensemen Jakob Chychrun sent social media into an absolute frenzy with a couple keystrokes. Online sleuths uncovered Chychrun had updated both his Twitter and Instagram bios removing any mentions of the Arizona Coyotes while also following several of the Maple Leafs including Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner as well as the Domi family and Toronto sports media personality Nick Kypreos. Of Course this sent a large faction of Leaf Nation into full out tizzy, constantly refreshing their browsers as well as refreshing their social media timelines expecting an imminent trade. This was downplayed recently when Chychrun was asked on Monday night after scoring twice in the Coyotes win. However, Chychrun’s name has been linked to the Maple Leafs for a couple seasons now. Also it was reported on Tuesday by Chris Johnston that a league source has confirmed that Toronto is looking to add on the back end. So with the potential of this possibly coming to fruition, lets take a look at the pros and cons of the Maple Leafs adding the polarizing figure.


Acquiring Chychrun would add a legitimate top pairing defensemen would add another offensive dynamic to this team. The 6’2 211lbs left shot defensemen has 7 goals and 20 assist with a +6 rating in 35 games played(stats courtesy of

He’s versatile and can play both the right and left side. He also does not shy aware from throwing his weight around. He currently has 43 hits this far. He could easily slot in on the top pair or have him on the second pair adding even more depth to the back end. The idea of having a top four consisting of Rielly, Brodie, Chychrun and Liljegren certainly is very inticing while also having guys like Giordano, Sandin, Timmins, Benn to rotate through on your bottom pair certainly is a great situation to be in.

He comes with some term with two more years remaining on his contract with a reasonable cap hit of 4.6 million dollars. Also did I mention he is only 24 years old. He’s a big minute muncher currently averaging 23:05 of ice time so far this season.

This is a player that would instantly upgrade both power play units as he would slot in on the top unit and provide a legitimate threat from the point. This is an element that has been lacking over recent years. With this it would move Rielly onto the second unit or maybe the team could explore having both Rielly and Chychrun on the top unit and allow the Leafs to move one of the forwards to the second unit spreading out the talent and providing a new dynamic.


Health is a major concern with Chychrun. He has yet to play a full 82 game season so far in his young career. Mind you there has been two of seven seasons were abbreviated due to COVID. His rookie campaign saw him suit up in 68 games which to this point is the most games he’s participated in thus far in his career. So far this season since returning to game action he has looked better then ever, but the concerns will always linger. History has left us as fans and management a bit apprehensive as it has burn the organization in the past making a move on an oft injured player that ends up back firing. Prime example Nick Foligno. The Leafs paid a high price for a rental to only seem him suit up in a couple games only to spend the majority of his tenure with Toronto on the IR and not be able to contribute anything of significance. In the end the Leafs had nothing to show for it excepted wasting value assets to acquire the player. There is more

Cost is another major factor in this equation. What would it take for the Maple Leafs to acquire a high end talent such as Chychrun. More reports indicate the price tag would include but not limited to Rasmus Sandin, One or more of Toronto’s top prospects Matthew Knies, Fraser Minten, Topi Neimela. Plus a first round draft pick as well as some NHL talent to help offset the cap inplications. To mortgage the future and sacrifice premium assets such as Knies, Minten or Niemela is a tough pill to swallow. What would make this even more difficult to stomach trading these assets is if the Maple Leafs bow out early in the playoffs. Knies especially looks to be a player that will be able to contribute as soon as he arrives in the league which will likely be in April once the NCAA season is over. Also to lose a guy like Rasmus Sandin who at this time is inexpensive and after a rough start has really come into form and has found a new level. Who some can argue if you loosen the reigns on him he could potentially surpass the offensive production of Chychrun will also being better defensively.

Final Word

Many factors come into play when looking to acquire an elite talent such as Jakob Chychrun. Concerns about his health have been tapered thus far as he has looked his best so far this season. One of the main concerns in this situation is the cost. Fact of the matter is to get great talent you need to pay a high price, however if the Maple Leafs can get something done without mortgaging their future I say go for it. Is he the answer to all of our questions, No. However he would provide another weapon for Sheldon Keefe to deploy out on the back end that would compliment the personnel we current have. Plus one thing we know well when it comes to the playoffs depth is key. Adding Chychrun to this group certainly helps strengthen the depth to the back end while also creating the potential opportunity to utilize one of the displaced defensemen to fetch something to help strengthen our forward depth. Either this is an exciting time and it will be interesting to see how things play out.