The argument for Chychrun:
There is no doubt the 23-year-old would immediately upgrade the Leafs’ defence. He has all the attributes you look for: capable of logging big minutes, physical, excellent size, tremendous two-way player and so on.
Into the bargain, Chychrun is still young and has encouraging upside. This is a player who has a long NHL career ahead of him, as long as he can remain healthy.
Another aspect which is extremely encouraging to the Leafs and teams in general, is Chychrun’s cap hit. After this season, he still has three years remaining on his current deal, at a reasonable average annual salary (AAV) of $4.6 million. (It should also be noted he can submit a 10 team no trade list for the final two seasons of his contract.)
We’ve already touched on the return package needing to be high, which we’ll get to in more detail shortly. However, it is worth noting Leafs’ general manager Kyle Dubas previously said he would be willing to give up one of their top prospects, if it made the team better. (For the record, this would apparently be any prospect with the exception of Rasmus Sandin.)
In this respect, adding a top-four blue-liner would undoubtedly improve the Leafs. The question is, would Chychrun be worth what it would cost to acquire him?