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NHL Draft

Chychrun glad to have plenty of support at NHL Draft

Top defense prospect received advice from Lightning GM Yzerman

by Jakob Chychrun / Special to

Jakob Chychrun, No. 4 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft, has played two seasons with Sarnia of the Ontario Hockey League. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound defenseman had 11 goals, 49 points, and a plus-23 rating in 62 regular-season games this season, and two goals and eight points in seven games in the OHL playoffs. Born in Boca Raton, Fla., Chychrun is the son of former NHL player Jeff Chychrun. He is in Buffalo this week with family getting set for the first round of the NHL Draft on Friday at First Niagara Center (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports). Chychrun has maintained a blog for all season leading up to the NHL Draft.

Hi hockey fans!

So I arrived in Buffalo from the family cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday with my mom, dad and sister and we got in late so we didn't do much that night. I worked out at the Ottawa Senators practice facility in Kanata, Ontario on Tuesday morning with Windsor center Logan Brown so I was ready for the trip. We skated in the morning and in the afternoon we each began the drive up with our families; we arrived before Logan.

I played a round of golf with my dad, Logan and his dad Wednesday, and I was busy with media events and phone calls Thursday. We had dinner with our sports agency that night.

I really can't believe the first round of the draft is going to happen Friday. Like I've said before, I've been dreaming about this for so long, talking about it for so long and picturing it for so long. I remember watching the draft last year and seeing many of my buddies getting selected; I couldn't believe they were getting drafted. Now it's crazy to think my year has arrived.

I'll try to get some sleep tonight. I'm looking forward to spending this moment with my family and friends. There was lots of hype surrounding this draft year, so I'm looking forward to getting on with the process and fighting for a roster spot. I think I may have around 40 family members and friends coming to the draft.

Lots of people, even team scouts and general managers, have been telling me that it doesn't matter where I'm drafted, but what I do after the draft in preparing myself to play in the NHL. My dad grew up with (Tampa Bay Lightning general manager) Steve Yzerman and when I returned home (to Boca Raton, Fla.) after my OHL season, we drove to Tampa and watched the Lightning play Game 4 against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Final and we went down after the game and talked to him. It was the three of us, and Steve and my dad were reminiscing about their days and draft process and how nothing is like it was today.

They didn't talk to teams; they really were in the dark about everything. They talked about how bad they felt for the prospects today with all the crazy hype and media coverage and then he said to me that it really doesn't matter where the kids go. It's all about what you do after. It was a great moment. It's something I've been thinking about the past few years now and it's my goal to make an NHL team next year.

I think this is something I've worked hard for my whole life. This is a moment Brown and I have talked about since we were toddlers. I don't know how I'm going to react to being drafted. It's the start to my dream so I'm going to enjoy this moment.

I must say it'll be nice to have Brown and his family sitting next to me when the first round begins. We'll have the whole day together tomorrow to try and calm each other down and maybe talk about other things to get our minds off of what lies ahead. We're going to be nervous; we've been talking about it. But it is a big moment in our careers. It will be good to go through this process with him, have him there to relax with and talk about everything afterwards. 

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