BUFFALO — The Arizona Coyotes’ desire to land defenseman Jakob Chychrun as their second pick in the first round of the NHL draft has helped the Detroit Red Wings become one of the favorites in the Steven Stamkos sweepstakes.
The Red Wings needed to move retired center Pavel Datsyuk’s $7.5 million salary cap hit to have enough cap room to compete for Stamkos if he doesn’t re-sign with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Stamkos will become an unrestricted free agent July 1, and he’s coming off a deal that carried a $7.5 million cap hit. The Coyotes helped the Red Wings by taking Datsyuk’s contract in exchange for moving up from 20th to 16th in the first round.
“We have the flexibility to do what we want to do,” Holland said.
According to generalfanager.com, the Red Wings are a little more than $19 million under the salary cap. They have 17 players under contract on the NHL roster, which doesn’t include four restricted free agents.
Chychrun was intriguing to the Coyotes because he was projected to be a top three draft…