D Jakob Chychrun (Sarnia Sting, OHL)
Jacob Chychrun is widely regarded to be the top defensive prospect in this year’s draft. Only Hockeyprospect.com and McKeen’s Hockey have him outside of the top five. Before Laine and Puljujarvi emerged as a second tier behind Matthews, Chychrun was even ranked second on most rankings.
"“Jakob is a talented defenseman that is both physically gifted and has elite hockey sense,” one FC evaluator said of Chychrun. “It shows immediately when you see him, but my favourite aspect of his game is what little hesitation he plays with. He just keeps on coming at the other team with different ways to attack.”"
Expectations are high for Chychrun. John Matisz of the Ottawa Sun even claims he looked better than Aaron Ekblad did when he came into the league.
"“His score was, I want to say, 25% further than any other player,” Sting coach Trevor Letowski said Wednesday, almost in disbelief months later, “including the 19, 20-year-olds.” Chychrun’s results towered over what other Sarnia players could muster. He was ranked “No. 1 by far” in the pre-season screening. “You don’t see that very often, for a 16-year-old to come in and lead the way like that,” Letowski said."
Will Chychrun be as good as Ekblad? We will probably have to wait a decade or so to find out. But one thing is clear: Chychrun possesses all the tools to become an elite defenceman in the NHL very soon.
Chychrun, an assistant captain of the OHL’s Sarnia Sting, only has nine goals and 39 points in 52 games so far this season, which is hardly an improvement over last season’s 16 goals and 33 points in 42 games. That and the fact that Chychrun was not on Team Canada’s roster for the 2016 World Juniors might be reasons why he is falling down rankings.
Potential: Elite Defenceman
Draft Range: 3-8
Next: LW Matthew Tkachuk