WEIGHT: 187 lbs
DRAFT YEAR PRODUCTION: Moskva (KHL) 11 GP, 1G, 1A, 1PTS
RANKING: 5th, European Skaters - Central Scouting
WHAT'S THE BUZZ
"Chayka is a smooth-skating, left-shot defenseman with excellent mobility." - Mike Morreale, NHL.com
CUT TO THE CHASE
A storm is coming.
Not really, but a 6-foot-3 Russian defender who played for the Guelph Storm is coming.
Daniil Chayka, NHL Central Scouting's fifth-ranked European skater, is among this year's top NHL Draft prospects. The left-shot blueliner's game isn't so much flash-and-dash, as it is reliable. As much as speed and skill are needed in today's game, reliability and consistency on the backend are valued as well.
Chayka left Russia to play in North America, skating two seasons for Guelph in the Ontario Hockey League from 2018-2020. His last season in Canada, Chayka tallied 11 goals and 34 points in 56 games. He came back to Russia last season, playing 11 games in the KHL, posting a goal and an assist in 11 games.
With Guelph, Chayka won an OHL Championship with Guelph and was named to the OHL Second All-Rookie Team in 2018-19. He also secured a gold medal at the U-17 World Championship.
In 2019-20, he added another gold medal at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup.
Chayka's natural size and reach give him the ability to break up scoring chances and rushes. While his offensive upside appears to be limited, he has the tools to, potentially, be a shutdown player.
In January, Mike Morreale of NHL.com listed Chayka as his 13th-ranked player.
"Chayka is a smooth-skating, left-shot defenseman with excellent mobility, calmness, and poise, who relishes in pushing the pace," he said.
The jury is still out on what Chayka's ceiling and floor are, but the tools are there to have a lengthy NHL career.
"He's a lot better when he keeps it simple," a scout said, according to The Hockey News. "I'm trying to figure out how his game will translate at the next level. I don't think he's a puck-moving guy. Maybe he's a tweener, where he's more of a shutdown guy."