Jakob Chycrhun has seen the trade boards.
He’s been subjected to the rumours that have popped up on social media.
And on Tuesday morning in Montreal, the Senators defenceman wanted to address a few of the storylines that have suddenly been floating around him lately. Sitting inside a nearly empty visitor’s dressing room at the Bell Centre, Chychrun had an extended conversation with The Athletic about his name being included in trade rumours.
“I think it’s ridiculous, if I’m being honest,” Chychrun said. “I went through it in Arizona and that was a different situation. But to see it now is a bit ridiculous. And I don’t think it’s based off anything.”
Chychrun is particularly upset with the notion that he’s no longer fond of playing in Ottawa. He understands the fact that his name is going to be listed on various trade boards, considering where the Senators are sitting in the standings. But he strongly pushed back against people who are hinting that he no longer enjoys being a member of the Ottawa Senators.
“It’s people shooting blind darts at a board and hoping they hit,” Chychrun said. “People have a right to say what they want, but to act like they have their sources is a joke. And people like to get their clicks on social media. If they have to use my name to do it, go ahead. But I’m not going to let it affect me.”
After being acquired by the Senators just ahead of last year’s trade deadline in March, Chychrun has engrained himself into the community. He has deep family roots in the area from his father’s side and said that Ottawa is a place he’s felt comfortable his entire life.
“I feel at home here. I bought a house and it’s five minutes from my sister and 10 minutes from my grandpa,” said Chychrun. “It’s been a cool opportunity. It’s special coming home and this is a second home to me. I’ve just been cherishing my time here because not everybody gets that opportunity to play in front of family and loved ones.”
Chychrun understands the Senators front office may need to make a difficult decision and consider the option of trading the 25-year-old defenceman. The Senators are languishing at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings and Chychrun is eligible to become a free agent at the end of the 2024-24 season. He’s one of the few core pieces who is not locked into a long-term contract, which could make him a valuable trade asset.
The Senators also have two other premier left-shot defencemen in Jake Sanderson and Thomas Chabot who are signed to long-term extensions. Chabot is locked up until after the 2027-28 season, while Sanderson is signed through the 2031-32 campaign. Chychrun is eligible to sign a contract extension as early as July 1, but finding room to fit him in alongside Sanderson and Chabot might be a tall order for new general manager Steve Staios.
So as Chychrun concedes, “It’s a crazy business and anything can happen.”
While he’s aware that a trade could occur down the road, he simply wants it known that he’s not trying to orchestrate his way out of this current situation.
At one point on Tuesday, Chychrun said, “I’m loving every moment here.”
One area where Chychrun did express some irritation was with the team’s record on the ice. When he left Arizona, he was seeking an opportunity to land on a contending team with playoff aspirations. Chychrun only has nine career playoff games under his belt, with all of those coming with the Coyotes inside the 2020 pandemic bubble.
The Senators, however, have stumbled to a 26-33-5 record since acquiring Chychrun — good for only a .445 points percentage. That puts Ottawa 27th overall in the league standings since landing Chychrun, a spot neither he nor the team could have envisioned when he joined the club from Arizona.
“I wish we were playing better hockey for the fans. That’s been frustrating for sure,” said Chychrun. “There have been some tough days at the rink.”
Chychrun said there is still a belief within the core group that they can turn things around without a major roster shake-up.
“It’s crazy. We could be something really special in here. But it’s up to us to continue to work and put this in the right direction,” said Chychrun. “It’s cool to see the belief in the room. Once we win one game, it feels like we’ll win 10 in a row.”
(Photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images)