2016 NHL Draft Player Profiles: Jakob Chychrun

A big, skilled defenseman could be just what the doctor ordered for the Sabres at #8.

Jakob Chychrun

Position: LHD
Height: 6'2''
Weight: 215 lbs
Date of Birth: 3/31/1998
Place of Birth: Boca Raton, Florida, USA
Current Team: Sarnia Sting (OHL)
ISS Ranking: 8

One of the biggest holes on the current Buffalo Sabres roster is a top-tier left handed defenseman, someone who could potentially be either Rasmus Ristolainen's partner for the next decade or another stalwart on the second pairing. With pick #8 in next week's draft, the Sabres should be able to have a chance at drafting themselves a promising lefty on defense. One of those prospects on the team's radar is Jakob Chychrun.

Chychrun was once thought of as a top-3 pick thanks to his tantalizing blend of size, skill, skating ability, and potential. He's one of the strongest skaters along the blueline in the draft, and is big enough to handle NHL competition next year should it come that. Chychrun has a nice shot from the point and makes a good first pass to get out of the zone, though he may not have the top-notch offensive instincts to be that #1 power play quarterback that Tim Murray is still looking for. He also has some injury concerns, with repeated shoulder injuries in his past that may give teams some pause. Still, if he reaches his full potential, Chychrun would be a great two-way fit beside Ristolainen for many years to come.

What the experts are saying

An unyielding two-way defenceman, Jakob Chychrun is a rising star with a toolbox bursting at the seams. Consistently displays elite four-way skating ability and is not afraid to throw his weight around physically. Plays with poise and composure through high pressure situations and, with the puck on his stick, can direct the play up-ice. Exhibits a particularly potent shot that works its magic on the power play and on the forecheck. Excellent first pass and uses his vision and awareness to keep the puck moving in the direction of the opposition's tail or to a teammate with more time and space. Defensively adept at tracking the puck and staying a step ahead of the opposition. Proactive with his stick and body, exerting pressure on the opposition and forcing them to make hurried decisions. All-in-all, a well-rounded two-way defender that competes with pro-level drive and makes his authoritative presence felt at both ends of the ice.
- Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects

Chychrun's best asset is his strong yet smooth skating ability. He moves well both straight line and laterally, and changes directions really well with smooth pivots. He doesn't do it often, but when he picks his spots, he has the explosive ability to jump into the rush. His skating ability is already pro level. The one thing Chychrun seems to lack is elite offensive instincts.

Outside of the top three players in the Draft, Chychrun is likely the most "NHL ready" prospect in the Draft. There's a chance he could compete for an NHL roster spot as soon as next season in the right situation. He should become a reliable second/third pairing type defenseman very quickly, with the possibility that he develops into a top pairing defenseman.
- Chris Dilks, SBN College Hockey

A pure athletic specimen with elite skating skill, Chychrun projects as a future do-it-all defender with shutdown tendencies and a very capable offensive dimension. He’s a complete player at the junior level and a potential difference-maker with the look of a future cornerstone NHL defenseman, but lofty expectations may not have been met this year, thus dropping him into the second tier of players available in the 2016 draft class.

- Kris Baker, Sabres.com