The big defenseman from Florida was a star for the Toronto Jr. Canadiens this year and will join a franchise that has been successful with No. 1 picks in the past.
In a press conference at the team’s arena before lunch today, the Ontario League’s Sarnia Sting announced what THN’s Ken Campbell first reported this morning: Jakob Chychrun will be the first overall selection in the OHL draft tomorrow.
Chychrun, a behemoth defenseman who was raised in Florida and whose father Jeff was an NHL enforcer, played for the Toronto Jr. Canadiens this season. He’s already 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, with a bomb of a point shot and great mobility.
“He was a man playing among boys,” one OHL scout told me. “Great offensive defenseman, but also a good defender. He’ll push the pace, but also gets back. He plays a composed game and he’s just scratching the surface.”
Chychrun has a lot to live up to as a No. 1 overall pick – the past two players selected in that spot by Sarnia were Alex Galchenyuk and Steven Stamkos. Barrie’s Aaron Ekblad was the last defenseman taken first overall and he may reprise that position in the NHL draft this summer. At the least, he’s a lock to be the first blueliner taken.
Chychrun will join a Sarnia franchise in flux. The Sting’s ownership situation may or may not be in transition, depending on who you believe, but at least the 16-year-old won’t be on an island. Defenseman Anthony DeAngelo and right winger Nikolay Goldobin are both top-50 talents for the NHL draft this summer, while fellow Jr. Canadiens alum Nikita Korostelev is coming off a successful rookie campaign.