SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun still wants to be traded to a playoff contender. He’s not going to let that impact how he plays while he’s still in the desert.
“I’ve been here a while now and the way I operate and take care of my business, I try to get better every day,” Chychrun said Wednesday, a day before the Coyotes start training camp. “All I’m going to focus on is continuing to get better, get healthy — that’s obviously the biggest thing right now.”
Chychrun will not be ready for the start of training camp and possibly preseason games after having wrist and ankle surgery in the offseason. He will play for the Coyotes once he is healthy, but the team will likely move him to a contender at some point.
The Coyotes are in year 2 of a rebuild that started with trading away veteran players for draft picks before that season. Arizona finished with the second-fewest points in the NHL last season and is expected to be near the bottom again this year.
The team approached Chychrun about a possible trade to a contender before last season and again early in the season, but the Coyotes could not find a suitable deal for one of their best players.
“Throughout the start of last season, I had a lot of reflection time and some really, really emotional, hard reflections with my loved ones and family,” he said “We ultimately decided to take them up on that offer and try to get moved on to a better situation.”
The 24-year-old Chychrun has been one of the anchors of Arizona’s team, both as a top-line defenseman and a leader in the locker room. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound defenseman is a physical presence at the blue line and a capable scorer, eclipsing 20 points five times in his six NHL seasons.
“It’s kind of a mutual position for me to get moved on to a situation with a chance to win and a team that’s fighting for the Stanley Cup and for them here to be able to get assets,” Chychrun said. “I understand how rebuilds work. I think it could be mutually beneficial.”
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