Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun Quickly Becoming the “Top Dog” in the Desertby Dom Lunardo March 8, 2021 1 comment
After being selected in the first round, 16th overall back at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, it’s certainly taken some time for Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun to “find his feet” at the National Hockey League level. Well, hockey fans, the wait is officially over as “Chyc”, as his teammates refer to him, has firmly cemented his place as one of the best all-around blue-liners in hockey. Let’s dive in and take a closer look at what makes the Boca Raton, Florida native such an extraordinary talent out in Glendale, Arizona.
When people throw around the term “modern-day NHL defenseman”, a few names come to mind. From Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning to Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators, Cale Makar from the Colorado Avalanche to Seth Jones from the Columbus Blue Jackets, and Alex Pietrangelo from the Vegas Golden Knights, among others, lead the charge in that regard as the big boys on defense. Each of the aforementioned players are immensely talented, consistent, and can change the outcome of a game in the absolute blink of an eye. However, when it comes to Chychrun, this kid just leaps off the page, and then some.
As a player, Chychrun possesses a unique and extensive toolbox that has both his teammates and coaching staff just salivating. He has certainly evolved into a force in all three zones for the “Yotes”. At 6’2, 210 pounds, and still just 22 years of age, he is one of those players who combines size and a physical presence with his stellar defensive abilities. An absolute greyhound of a skater, “Chyc” is a magician in his own end and reads the game at an elite level. He’s smart, moves the puck well, and has put up some impressive offensive numbers this season that has the Coyotes right in the thick of the playoff race under the guidance of head coach Rick Tocchet. Man, oh man, do the Coyotes ever have themselves a top-tier talent on their hands in the form of Chychrun.
Offense from Defense
It’s one thing to be an excellent offensive/defensive-minded defenseman. It’s quite another to excel and thrive at both facets of the game. Well, hockey fans, that’s Chychrun for you. This season, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, has seen Chychrun’s game reach brand new heights. For starters, he’s averaging 22:56 worth of ice-time and has found himself on the Coyotes’ top pairing alongside Alex Goligoski. He’s also the lone defenseman on the Yotes’ number-one power-play unit.
From a sheer statistical standpoint, his numbers are extremely impressive. In 24 games this season, the Coyotes stalwart has posted six goals, 11 assists, and 17 points to go along with a munis-six rating. Not only has he continued to rack up points, but he’s firmly entrenched himself as one of Tocchet’s most trusted players, and one of the organization’s most valuable pieces. And the scary part is…this kid’s just getting started. The sky really is the limit for one of hockey’s brightest young stars.
Team Canada’s Radar: 2022 Winter Olympic Games
The National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) in conjunction with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) set to “give the green light” on NHL player participation at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in just under a year’s time. It certainly appears as though Chychrun will be given a long, hard look as he hopes to secure a roster spot.
Deemed “out of the question” 18 months prior, “Chyc” would be a wonderful addition to what promises to be one heck of a Canadian team because of his incredible tool kit as a player. Although it’s still roughly 11 months away, one thing remains certain. If Jakob Chychrun continues his stellar play out in the desert, Team Canada general manager Doug Armstrong will have no choice but to grant him a spot donning the red and white. As fans of the game, we’ll just have to wait and see how it all unfolds.
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