The Runner Sports

Arizona Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun Exceeding Expectations

 Young Coyotes’ defenseman making it happen

Ever since Jakob Chychrun was drafted last summer by the Arizona Coyotes, he had boastfully stated that he would make the team. Even though confidence in one’s ability is an admirable quality, few doubted he could follow through with that claim.

Well… he made the team, and is playing above and beyond any expectations of Coyotes’ management or coaching staff.

Chychrun, who will turn 19 on the last day of the month, stands 6′ 3″, 200 pounds. That may not sound that impressive, but he is a chiseled specimen, and an outstanding skater. When other players get hit by him, they tend to remember it. Even his captain and teammate Shane Doan can attest to that. In pregame warm-ups Monday night against the Colorado Avalanche, Chychrun accidentally crashed into Doan knocking the wind out of him. Doan, at 6′ 1″, 223 pounds is no small person. Doan commented to Dave Vest of NHL.com: “I didn’t know it was him that hit me. I was looking back at [Oliver Ekman-Larsson] and got hit. I had no idea who it was that hit me … I haven’t been hit that hard in a long, long time.”

He also can venture into the offensive zone with some speed and agility, making him a dual threat. In 56 games thus far this initial NHL season for Chychrun, he has six goals and 12 assists.

Has he made rookie mistakes? Of course… but he’s learning from them, and his game has vastly improved as the season closes down. He has been paired with veteran Luke Schenn, and most recently with another rookie, Anthony DeAngelo.

 Chychrun fits into current Arizona Coyotes’ rebuild

The future of the Desert Dogs lies with its youth. Chychrun, turning 19 soon, will be around for a while, and credit his presence on the team to GM John Chayka. He moved up to the 16th drafting position by agreeing to take over Detroit Red Wings‘ Pavel Datsyuk‘s salary when he decided to go back to Russia to play hockey. The Red Wings, like many NHL teams, were hurting for salary cap space.

The crafty Chayka had to move up to the salary cap basement minimum, and he used this asset to acquire the draft pick he needed to land Chychrun. The Coyotes had to give Detroit their 20th overall selection, plus their 53rd overall choice along with Joe Vitale. Vitale had concussion issues from getting pounded in a fight, and has only played one game since the beginning of last season.

Has the move paid off for the Arizona Coyotes? So far, it looks as if Chychrun will be a mainstay on the blueline for the up and coming Yotes. When he advances into the offensive zone, good things tend to happen. He has exceptional passing ability, and his shot is right up there with other NHL players.

As it turns out, Chychrun’s self-confidence in being able to make the final roster cuts before the season started ended up being more of a prediction than an egotistical remark.

And, the Arizona Coyotes couldn’t be any happier.