Jakob Chychrun Scouting Report: 2016 NHL Draft #5

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Jakob Chychrun is another prospect with NHL bloodlines, a theme of this year’s draft class.  The son of former NHLer Jeff Chychrun, Jakob Chychrun was born in Florida while his father was playing for the Panthers. However, he was raised in Canada, and played for Team Ontario at the Under 17 World Hockey Championships. He also tried out for Team Canada at this year’s World Juniors but was one of the final cuts from the team.  Chychrun was the first overall pick in the 2014 OHL Draft by the Sarnia Sting, and has played top minutes for the team, basically since he entered the league. Chychrun put up 33 points in 42 games as a 16-year old in 2014-15. This season he improved on that number, finishing fourth in league scoring amongst defencemen with 11 goals and 38 points for 49 points in 62 games. He’s added two goals and four assists for six points in six games during Sarnia’s first round playoff series with Sault Ste. Marie.

Jakob Chychrun Scouting Report: 2016 NHL Draft #5

Defense — shoots Left
Born Mar 31 1998 — Boca Raton, FL (plays internationally for Canada, has not appeared in an IIHF-sanctioned event)
Height 6.02 — Weight 214 [188 cm/97 kg]

A superb skater, Chychrun has excellent speed and acceleration in both directions. He seems to float above the ice, and his stride looks effortless. Chychrun has outstanding edgework, and his pivots are crisp and clean. This allows Chychrun to cover a ton of ice. He can rush the puck and get back quickly defensively as well. He also possesses excellent agility.  Chychrun can navigate traffic effectively both with and without the puck. He’s strong on his skates for his size, and uses good leverage and balance to win battles in corners and in front of the net.  He should become even better in this aspect as he adds muscle to his frame.

Jakob Chychrun is already at 6’2″ and still growing, he also has the size teams will be looking for. Add in good vision, strong passing skills and a bomb for a slap shot and he has all the tools to be an offensive force. He has high-end hockey sense and seems to make the right play most times. Chychrun starts the breakout effectively, either with a strong first pass, or by avoiding forecheckers and skating the puck out of his own end. He has good stickhandling skills and can lead the rush. Chychrun is also strong on the power play walking the line effectively to open up passing and shooting lanes.

Chychrun is also already developping a strong defensive game, playing shutdown defensive hockey and getting big minutes against top lines even as a 16-year-old last year. That has continued this year and he has been one of the best defensive defenders in the OHL.  He has excellent positioning, good gap control, an active stick, and can play physically without getting himself out of position.  He forces attackers to the outside and into bad shooting positions when defending the rush.  In his own end he clears the front of the net, and cuts down passing and shooting lanes. In addition to playing physical, he’s also not afraid to sacrifice his body blocking shots. Chychrun could stand to add some muscle to his frame, but that is not unusual for an 18-year-old and should come with time.

Chychrun has the potential to be a franchise defender. In terms of playing style, he can be compared with Aaron Ekblad of the Florida Panthers. I caution though that this is not a talent comparison, but merely one based on style. It is difficult for 18-year-old defencemen to be NHL ready, and its unclear if Chychrun will be; however if not ready to go in the fall, he should be ready by the 2017-18 season.

 

Following is a compilation of Jakob Chychrun’s highlights as found on youtube.

Check back tomorrow for our #6 prospect.

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