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NHL Trade Rumors: Marek & Friedman Confirm Florida Panthers Interest in Chychrun

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Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (6) sends Florida Panthers center Eetu Luostarinen to the ice during the third period of their game on Dec. 10. The Panthers won 3-1. — AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

On the 32 Thoughts Podcast, Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman confirm that the Florida Panthers are interested in Arizona Coyotes star defenseman Jakob Chychrun.

Last week, Florida Hockey Now reported the team would take a look at the Boca Raton native, who has seven points off two goals in 26 games with the bottom-dwelling Coyotes this season.

Chychrun, 23, signed a six-year deal holding a $4.6 million annual cap hit prior to the 2019-20 season.

That deal has three seasons left following the conclusion of the 2021-22 season.

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The 6-2, 210-pound defenseman’s age, team-friendly contract, and defensive zone ability make him one of the most highly sought-after players that would likely be moved at this year’s trade deadline — and the Panthers have a need on the blue line.

After cycling through the likes of Lucas Carlsson, Olli Juolevi and Matt Kiersted on their third pairing, the Panthers are looking for a left-handed defenseman who could bring consistency to the lineup.

General manager Bill Zito hinted at such when the team returned to practice following the league’s holiday pause on Dec. 26.

“You’ve probably heard it before; you can never have enough defense,” Zito said “It’s something we can’t really rest on, we always have to continue to look to get better.”

The price to bring a player of Chychrun’s caliber will be steep.

Marek speculated on the show that the price for Florida to acquire him would include Spencer Knight, Anton Lundell and a first-round draft pick.

Good luck getting that out of the Panthers.

The Panthers traded their 2022 first-round pick to acquire Sam Reinhart over the offseason, so that would likely mean the package would include their 2023 first-round pick instead.

Knight and Lundell are both players with star potential, but with the amount of interest Chyrchun has garnered around the league, that might be what it would take to bring him back to South Florida.

Lundell, 20, is currently a dark horse in the Calder race, having the fifth-most points (23) and fourth-most goals (9) among NHL rookies while playing a crucial role on the team defensively.

He has the fourth-most shorthanded time-on-ice per game among rookies, playing 2:43 a night on the penalty kill.

Lundell also appears to be Florida’s future No. 2 center behind captain Sasha Barkov. Sam Bennett is there now and has two more seasons remaining.

Knight had a hot start to his career, going 4-0-0 with a .919/2.32 in his first three NHL starts after signing his entry-level contract in April 2021.

The 20-year-old netminder fell down to earth this season, going 7-5-2 with an .891/3.51 in 12 starts this season.

Still, the Panthers are very happy to have a future star goalie in their ranks.

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