Grading Jakob Chychrun trade to Capitals

The Senators got a lackluster return from the Capitals for Jakob Chychrun.

Eight potential trade destinations for Ottawa Senators defenseman Jakob  Chychrun - Daily Faceoff

Washington Capitals former general manager Brian MacLellan had one more trade to make before taking over as the team's President of Hockey Operations when he acquired Jakob Chychrun in a trade with the Ottawa Senators. It was a busy week for MacLellan, who took on the role of President and gave the general manager job to Chris Patrick. The Chychrun trade was a great move for MacLellan to go out on, as he acquired a star defender for far less than he was expected to go for on the trade market.

The Senators acquired Chychrun from the Arizona Coyotes in March 2023 for a conditional 2023 first-round pick, a conditional second-round pick in 2024, and a second-round pick in 2026. When Chychrun trade rumors started to swirl for the Senators, fans hoped they'd be able to reacquire most of the assets they gave up in order to get him. Unfortunately, that didn't end up happening, as Washington only gave up Nick Jensen and a 2026 third-round pick in exchange for Chychrun.

The Senators old regime took a big swing to acquire Chychrun, but it's obvious that new general manager Steve Staios and owner Michael Andlauer weren't very big fans of his. Staios did the best he could with the market, but it doesn't make the pill any easier for Senators fans to swallow.

Ottawa is slowly watching the rest of the Atlantic Division pass them by, and they don't have many ways to turn with only $1.9 million in cap space available to them. The addition of 2023 Vezina Trophy winner Linus Ullmark will help, but their defensive unit isn't all that great, especially with Chychrun no longer around. So with this deal officially in the books, let's take a closer look at the deal and hand out some grades.

The difference between Jakob Chychrun and Nick Jensen

Ottawa Senators Trade Defenceman

The first question that came to everyone's minds when they saw this trade was, ‘Why would the Senators trade Chychrun for Jensen?' The third-round of the draft features plenty of steals, so the Senators adding another third-rounder in 2026 isn't exactly worthless. However, it'll take a while for that player to make an impact with the Senators. In the interim, that basically makes this trade a swap involving Chychrun and Jensen.

Jensen is a 33-year-old right-shot defenseman with a $4 million cap hit. He had one goal and 13 assists in 78 games last season for the Capitals, with a dreadful 44.8 Corsi percentage. The Capitals lucked into a playoff spot last season, as they played enough high-event games to steal some points and sneak into the postseasons. Everyone knew that Washington wouldn't be able to win in the playoffs, and the New York Rangers took care of them quickly in the first round. One of the main reasons for the playoff loss was their lack of defensive depth.

Chychrun is a 26-year-old left-shot defenseman in the last year of a contract that carries a $4.6 million cap hit. He had injury concerns in the past, but he silenced those doubts by playing 82 games last season for Ottawa. He recorded 41 points in 82 games and owned a 49.9 Corsi percentage. Chychrun's Corsi rating is even more impressive when you realize how bad of a team the Senators were last season. Chychrun also logged heavy minutes for the Senators, averaging 19:20 minutes of even-strength time per game.

There could be a lot of reasons why the Senators chose to make this trade. However, when you compare these two players on paper, it's pretty clear who you'd rather have on your team.

Capitals make plenty of moves

The Capitals were a busy team during the draft and free agency. They acquired Logan Thompson from the Vegas Golden Knights to round out their goaltending tandem after they traded Darcy Kuemper to the Los Angeles Kings for Pierre-Luc Dubois earlier this offseason. The Capitals also signed Matt Roy in free agency to join Chychrun on the blue line, creating a natural right and left pair.

Washington is building on their success from last season to give Alex Ovechkin another run before his looming retirement.  They may not have the talent to compete in the Metropolitan Division, but they are at least giving their roster a chance.

Senators go backwards

The same can't be said for the Senators, though. It's hard to see which direction the Senators are heading. They did a magnificent job of getting Ullmark from the Boston Bruins, and fans were ecstatic about Staios' ability to fleece Don Sweeney. They believed another fleecing in the Chychrun trade would set the Senators up for success. However, it seems the Senators took two steps backward with this deal.

They now have no cap space remaining, lost two of their better players in Chychrun and Mathieu Joseph, and all they have to show for it is a goalie who won't have much help in front of him. Joonas Korpisalo was one of the worst goalies in the league last season, and it's time to find out if it was his fault or if it's just the Senators are simply setting their goalies up for failure.

Capitals trade grade: A-

Senators trade grade: D-