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NHL Draft

Chychrun goes full throttle at Combine

Sarnia defenseman does it all, from agility testing to planting trees

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 49 points (11 goals, 38 assists) and a plus-23 rating in 62 regular-season games this season, and two goals and six assists 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 taking part in the 2016 Scouting Combine at First Niagara Center and HarborCenter.

BUFFALO -- Hi, hockey fans!

Well, I completed the NHL Scouting Combine and it was a lot of fun.

My roommate for the week was Logan Brown, and he came up with an idea to order room service earlier in the morning, so we decided on eggs, toast, fruit and oatmeal. We did the VO2 max bike test at 8:30 a.m. Friday, so we ordered room service for 6 a.m. We set an alarm, got up, ate as fast as we could and then went back to bed.

By doing that, we were trying to simulate a pregame meal. Usually I like to eat my pregame meal three hours before game time, but in this case it was two hours before the VO2 testing. After eating we got back to bed, set the alarm. We did the same thing for the testing Saturday.

I had my testing begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, so I got up at 8:45 a.m., ate and went back to bed for 45 minutes. Then I got up and got down to HarborCenter to prepare.

It's not that hard to get the adrenaline going and get pumped up for this. You see all the people here and you have one opportunity to show them what you have, so I didn't try to look in the stands at all. I just tried to focus on myself. I know my body well and know what I can achieve, so I just wanted to get as close to that as possible, and I feel I had good results.

I struggled on the pro agility test, since my shoes were slipping. I practiced on turf before the combine and it was on a hard court here, so it was just a little different.

But a lot of tests went well and I was happy with the way things went. Once we get drafted and go to minicamp, I'm sure we'll be doing a lot of the same stuff. We have a month to get stronger and try to improve on what we just did, and that's going to be my goal when I get back home.

I want to get better every single day; I might even be in the gym on Sunday when I arrive home in Florida. I just want to be as prepared as possible to impress any NHL team and ultimately fight for a spot by the time camp comes around.

The one other great thing I did this week was tree planting at Buffalo's Martin Luther King Jr. Park, which was a short drive from First Niagara Center. I joined a few other prospects to help with the planting to commemorate the 2016 NHL Draft in Buffalo.

There was a bad ice storm this winter in Buffalo, so it destroyed about 70 trees. The idea was to go around the parks in the city and try to replant as many as possible. Trees are huge for the environment, especially downtown, because there's so many buildings. The more trees you can plant, that goes a long way for the environment. It'll be cool because whenever I come back here in Buffalo, if I'm not playing here, I'll return to the spot where we planted the trees and it'll remind me of this cool experience that only happens once in your life.

Finally, I just want to say what a great experience my week was here at the combine. The combine was so well-organized and so well-run. Buffalo has done a phenomenal job with the facilities here, having the HarborCenter attached to the rink was great; you really can't beat that. I think having the combine in Buffalo was very convenient and easy for us.

If they can make our jobs easier and not have to worry about getting from one place to the other and just worry about performing and relaxing and being ourselves, then it's great for us. We appreciate everything they've done for us and it's been a great experience. Buffalo is a great hockey town, has great ownership and it'd be great to play in Buffalo.

Thanks for reading. I'll blog again closer to the NHL Draft!

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