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Ottawa Senators Bid Farewell to Defenceman Jakob Chychrun

When FACES spoke with Ottawa Senators defenceman Jakob Chychrun last fall, he seemed like a young man happy to set down roots in Ottawa, ready to make the city his permanent NHL home. 

What a difference nine months can make.

The Senators traded Chychrun to the Washington Capitals on Monday afternoon, shortly after NHL free agent season opened. In return, the Senators got Nick Jensen, a much-needed right-shot defenceman and a 2026 third-round draft pick. 

Jensen doesn’t have Chychrun’s offensive upside, but the Sens already have two left-shot offensive defencemen. Jensen’s game is defence and physicality, and he adds blue-line balance to the top four. Jake Sanderson and Thomas Chabot are now free to create on the left side, while Jensen and Artem Zub provide insulation and defence on their natural right side.

“Well, the market on right shot defenseman is pretty lean,” Senators’ GM Steve Staios said. “So this deal in particular where we were going to get a return of a good experienced right shot defenseman, we felt like that was our best approach at this time. You look back at all the talks and the offers, and this one made sense, and the timing was right.”

Chychrun led all Senator defencemen in scoring with 41 points in 82 games last season. But with Sanderson and Chabot already locked up long-term at around $8 million a season, it was hard to see how Chychrun would fit under the cap when he became a UFA and had his hand out next summer. 

That wasn’t lost on Chychrun, who had a super bland answer at season’s end when asked if he could see himself being in Ottawa longer term.

“It’s a tough question,” Chychrun said after a long pause. “I mean, I don’t know. I honestly have not thought about that. I know I have one more year left, and like I said, there haven’t even been talks of an extension or anything. So, I haven’t really gotten my head wrapped around that idea. So it’s tough for me to sit here and act like I have. I don’t know. I’m just going to kind of take it day-by-day and see if and when we have those talks and go from there.”

His tone was much different than it was on arrival last March. Back then, Chychrun was pumped to be in Ottawa, his second hometown. One of the things that Chychrun most looked forward to about playing for the Senators was that his grandfather, who lives here, would be able to see him play more often, in person and on TV.

“Since I started playing in the NHL, he really hasn’t been able to see too much of me playing. Maybe once or twice a year when we were in Ottawa, Montreal or Toronto, basically. And the time change was very hard too for the east coasters to stay up late and watch the West Coast Arizona games.”

While Washington isn’t the Capital his Dido (Ukrainian for grandfather) prefers, at least Chychrun’s games will still be on at a reasonable hour, mostly on the East Coast.

Along with the big trade on Monday, the Senators also signed free-agent forwards Noah Gregor, Michael Amadio, and David Perron. Sens defenceman Artem Zub may need a minute to embrace Perron as a teammate. While playing for the Detroit Red Wings in 2023-24, Perron was suspended by the NHL for six games for viciously cross-checking Zub in the head.

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