Earlier in the year, Jakob Chychrun was thought to be the best defenceman in the 2016 Entry Draft, but he has seen his stock fall of late. It’s hard to pin blame on Chychrun for this slide in the rankings, as he enjoyed a successful 15-16 campaign; however, the emergence of Olli Juolevi and Mikhail Sergachev as top defenders has hurt Chychrun’s worth in the eyes of critics. Despite this setback, the consensus is that Chychrun is still top-10 worthy, and should he fall into Montreal’s hands, may end up being a steal at the 9th position.
DOB: March 31, 1998 – Boca Raton, Florida
Weight: 205 lbs
CSB: 4 (North American Skaters)
Hockey Prospect: 9
Future Considerations: 6
The Hockey News: 9
In his second year in the OHL, Chychrun impressed offensively and finished 3rd overall in defenceman scoring. Although he narrowly missed the cut from Team Canada’s World Juniors team, Chychrun didn’t allow this setback to hinder his progress, and he finished out his year with 31 points in 37 regular season and playoff games.
Chychrun is a highly-capable puck-moving defenceman gifted with exceptional skating. He’s able to either skate the puck out of his zone or create plays off the rush off the rush with his passing abilities. Chychrun’s puck-handling is above-average, and he’s able to protect the puck well; this serves him well as he’ll often force the play with a high-risk play. Chychrun’s two-way play is solid, though he’ll occasionally over-commit to an aggressive hit or stick-check. Chychrun isn’t a vicious player, but he plays a tough, physical game, particularly on the boards, and won’t shy away from any of the rough stuff. Although his slapshot is still a work in progress, but Chychrun more than compensates with a quick, accurate wrist shot and excellent passing.
As with most freshly-drafted defencemen, Chychrun wouldn’t be expected to make the jump to the NHL this upcoming season. In all likelihood, he’d spend another year among the junior ranks, with Andrei Markov, Nathan Beaulieu, Alexei Emelin and Mark Barberio all ahead of him on the depth chart in Montreal. If Chychrun proves to be the real deal, perhaps Canadiens’ fans will see him suit up for part of the 2017-18 season. This will permit Chychrun to gain more experience and add some muscle to his already NHL-ready frame.