Fans who spent a lot of time reading about the 2016 draft were probably surprised by a few things. The Columbus Bluejackets selected Pierre-Luc Dubois over Jesse Puljujarvi, Matthew Tkachuk fell to 6th overall, the Arizona Coyotes chose Clayton Keller with the 7th pick, and Jakob Chychrun fell all the way to 16th. While many people (including this site) thought it was possible that the Coyotes would draft Chychrun, most assumed it would be with the 7th pick, not after trading picks with the Detroit Red Wings to move up 4 spaces in the draft.
But even though Chychrun’s falling in the draft lead to some questioning if there was something amiss, he is still a player that the Coyotes wanted enough to trade a ton of cap space for, and remains an strong prospect in the Coyotes revitalized defensive pipeline.
#5 - Jakob Chychrun - Left Defenseman - Sarnia Sting - 16th overall pick, 2016 Draft (Colorado)
Highest Rank: 3
Lowest Rank: 12
Born in Boca Raton, Florida, Chychrun is one of the growing number of players coming from the Southern United States. The current alternate captain of the Sarnia Sting, Chychrun has proven to be an exceptional defensemen in the OHL with 27 goals and 55 assists in 104 games in two years.
Chychrun has all of the tools needed to be a top-four or even a top pairing defensemen in the NHL in the years to come. A solid two way defenceman, he combines vision and the ability to direct play with a notable physical presence on the ice. He is solid on the power play, and was tied for first among OHL defencemen for power play goals (8) and third for power play assists (20).
Chychrun went to his first prospect development camp earlier this summer and by all accounts his eagerness was impressive to the coaching staff. He asked questions and was ready for all of the drills and seems serious about taking his game to the next level. While rookies should always be doing whatever it takes to impress their new coaching staff, its encouraging to see Chychrun’s dedication to improve his game to get to the NHL as soon as possible.
Like most defensive prospects Chychrun probably not going to be making it to the NHL in his draft year. But with his entry-level contract signed, as soon as he is ready he should be able to come into the NHL and make an impact.
Dissenting Opinion: Brendan Porter - Ranked #3
I believe that Jakob Chychrun suffered from recency bias in his draft season; the excellent seasons of Olli Juolevi, Mikhail Sergachev, and Jake Bean overshadowed a player who heading into the 2015-16 season was thought of as the best prospect not named Auston Matthews. Accordingly, I think Chychrun is the best defensive prospect in Arizona's system, and is a guy who will be a big part of the Coyotes for many years to come.
Chychrun was third among OHL defensemen last season in shots, which demonstrates that he's both unafraid to attack the offensive zone, and that he often times has the puck to do it. He also posted 0.79 points per game in consecutive seasons, all while remaining committed to the two-way game.
There's a reason why the word "complete" shows up in nearly every pre-Draft Chychrun profile, as well as references to players like Florida's Aaron Ekblad. But lest it seem like I'm appealing to authority, check out Chychrun's skating, passing, and shooting abilities for yourself:
Even if his ceiling is as a #3 defender, I think Chychrun gives Arizona a two-way depth on their blue-line that they have not had for many seasons. For those reasons, I think Jakob Chychrun is the third-best prospect in Arizona's system.