Boca Raton, FloridaHeight:
Sarnia Sting (OHL)CSS Rank:
4th among North American Skaters
This year, Jakob Chychrun, arguably one of the best defencemen available in the 2016 NHL Draft, saw his early status as top blueliner commandeered by Olli Juolevi of the London Knights.
Though his ranking changed, his game performance did not, which speaks volumes to the focus and determination the defenceman has.
Having completed his second season with the Ontario Hockey League’s Sarnia Sting, Chychrun was determined to make up for lost time after a shoulder injury sidelined him for 26 games during his 2014-15 rookie season and prevented him from playing in five OHL playoff games.
This season he recorded 11 goals and 38 assists for 49 points in 62 games with the Sting, including eight points in seven post-season contests.
"I saw Chychrun a lot last year before his injury, and again after he returned, and he has an all-around game," Central Scouting's Al Jensen told NHL.com. "I haven't seen a young defenceman with this type of skill set in his draft year since Scott Stevens. Jakob has that drive and determination, and when I look in his eyes you can see it. He's almost NHL-ready right now.”
Son of ex-NHL defenceman Jeff Chychrun, the blueliner is one of three generations of Chychrun to take the ice. Owing his offensive capabilities to having once played the position of forward before settling in on the blue line at age 11, Chychrun told Sportsnet he was inspired by the play of Drew Doughty to take up the position his father played before him.
“[Doughty]’s got a little chip on his shoulder, which I love,” he said.
Though the American-born Canadian defenceman wasn’t selected to represent Team Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland, he did represent Canada at the Ice Hockey U-18 Championship in Grand Forks, North Dakota where he recorded four points (1G, 3A) in seven games and finished the tournament +5.
Chychrun led all Greater Toronto Hockey League defenceman in goals (16), assists (27) and points (43) through 29 games with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens in the 2013-14 season. He was named to Team Ontario’s U17 program as an underage skater and was the first non-exceptional status player ever to do so. He recorded four points in five games in the tournament.
A solid two-way defenceman, Chychrun poses as a threat at both ends of the rink. Offensively, he has the skill, vision and awareness to quarterback the power play, while defensively he maintains strong positioning on the penalty kill. The blueliner will prove he is a force to be reckoned with when he makes his way into the NHL.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
- Central Scouting’s Al Jensen: “People will be very impressed with this kid; he's got a phenomenal shot, he's a leader and plays all situations, and his 1-on-1 coverage is great.”
- Director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr: “A complete defenceman with the size, strength, speed and puck skills for today’s NHL. Chychrun is an excellent transitional skater who possesses high-end hockey sense, passing ability, a powerful shot and the poise to make plays under pressure. He plays a solid two-way game displaying quick offensive instincts, is responsible defensively and rarely out of position.”