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NHL Draft: Chychrun recaps season with Sarnia

Top 2016 NHL Draft defense prospect looks forward to U-18 World Championship

by Jakob Chychrun / Special to

Jakob Chychrun, No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft, just finished his second season with Sarnia of the Ontario Hockey League. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound defenseman had 11 goals, 49 points and a plus-23 rating in 62 regular-season games, then scored two goals and had 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 has offered to maintain a blog for leading up to the 2016 NHL Draft in Buffalo, N.Y.

Hi, hockey fans.

Our first-round playoff series against Sault St. Marie was intense. Prior to the series, we had a few team meetings and discussed adjusting our play a bit to counter the way the Greyhounds play. They're a great puck-possession team and they really like to slow the play down, making as many passes needed to clear the zone. They like to suck you in and get it to the open guy.

We were going to try and play almost a bit of a trap, and we did that for the opening two (losses) of the series. We realized we were taking away some of the things that made us successful all year, so for the rest of the series, we returned to the aggressive style of play, and it worked for us. We won the next one, fell behind 3-1 in the series before tying it up, and then lost Game 7.

It's tough to be satisfied (in the season) when you lose a tough playoff series. It's just tough to think about your individual play when you lose because you think about what you could have done to maybe change the outcome of the series. It was nice to have a strong series. We all left it out there, and I think we had a pretty good effort to battle back when we were down 3-1 because a lot of people counted us out. We had an injury to our best player (Philadelphia Flyers prospect Travis Konecny) but were still able to battle through adversity and fight our way back. I'm proud what we were able to do even though the outcome wasn't what we wanted. It was a great group of guys, and I'm going to miss all of them.

It's been a tough couple of days here, and I think it'll be good for me now to go play for Canada in the (IIHF) World Under-18 Championship (in Grand Forks, N.D.). I'll get my mind off of what happened here in Sarnia for a bit while trying to win a gold medal.

The U-18 World Championship will be a great opportunity. I'll have to play against one of my good buddies, (Windsor center) Logan Brown (of the United States). That's going to be tough, but it'll be a good battle with him, for sure. I'll be heading to Winnipeg for U-18 Canada camp on (April 8).

After the Under-18 World Championship, I'll look forward to being home in Florida in order to work out with my trainer to prepare for the NHL Scouting Combine. You always want to perform well at the Combine because it's a big step in the whole process. I'll talk to my agent to find out what to expect at some of the meetings and interviews and try and be as prepared as possible for everything that's going to hit me over the next month. I'm excited to begin training for the Combine because I love the offseason, putting on muscle and just getting ready for the following year.

Thanks for reading my blog during the season, everyone. I'll check in again in the month of June.

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