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Jakob Chychrun

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Jakob Chychrun: Coming To An OHL Arena Near You - Junior Hockey News

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Published: Thursday, 13 Feb 2014

By: Alex Muscat

If you've never heard of the name Jakob Chychrun, you will in the not-too distant future.

Regardless of who has the first overall pick in April's OHL Priority Selection, the 15-year old defenseman is expected to be the first player taken off the board.

Chychurn, listed at 6'2", 200 lbs., is raising eyebrows as he is skating for the Toronto Jr. Canadiens' minor midget program where he has scored 16 goals and 27 assists for 43 points with 28 penalty minutes in 29 games this season.

If the last name is familiar to you, it should ring a bell because his father, Jeff Chychrun spent eight seasons in the NHL and skated for four teams and won a Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992. You can say that Jakob has a great teacher.

The younger Chychrun was born and raised in Boca Raton, Florida where he learned his craft and took his talents to Michigan and played for the Little Caesars' hockey program. After being denied as an underage player by the USHL, Chychrun moved on to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and hasn't looked back.

Chychrun has been described as a big, strong two-way defenseman with a "bull in a china shop" mentality' and an excellent skater who can log heavy minutes. He's already got NHL size and can use that to his advantage with hits that Don Cherry can be proud of. It would be safe to say that he's the total package. You name it, he can do it.

Chychrun took the international stage at the recent World Under-17 Challenge in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia where we was the first non-OHL player to represent Team Ontario. Chychrun, who is a duel-citizen, fared very well for being the team's youngest player as he scored a goal and had three assists in five games.

Whoever lands the top pick and takes Chychrun as expected, they'll have a player that they can build their franchise around. The same could be said in a couple of years about an NHL team.

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Young athletes in the GTA to watch in the New Year: Third in a three-part series.

Before every game, Jakob Chychrun eats the same meal (pasta, red sauce), sits in the same seat (rear right side), listens to the same music (rap) and gets dressed, always left side first.

On goes the left sock, the left skate, the left elbow pad, the left glove. It’s followed by a couple of handshakes and a quick warm-up (always with the same partners).

Then he gets serious; it’s time to buckle down and focus on the game ahead.

His routine seems to be working.

Tall, fast, efficient under pressure and possessing a knack for reading plays, the six-foot-two, 195-pound defenceman is one of hockey’s rising stars.

In the four months since the 15-year-old dual citizen moved from Florida to play for the Toronto Jr. Canadiens minor midget team, scouts say he’s established himself as arguably the province’s best 1998-born hockey player.

Jakob is expected to go first in the OHL draft this spring and he’s the first non-OHL player to be selected for the Ontario under-17 team.

He’ll get a three-day hockey reprieve with his family over Christmas before heading to Nova Scotia to play in the World Under-17 Challenge.

He’s only in Grade 10, but Jakob’s got big goals and a great teacher.

“My dad’s been probably the best coach I could ask for and he’s taught me almost everything I know about the game,” he said. “The small lessons coming from him, they mean the most in the long run.”

Coach, game chauffeur, cheerleader and father, Jeff Chychrun is still, in some ways, trying to wrap his head around the teenager in front of him, one for whom handling a stick is second nature and on-ice creativity happens naturally.

Even though Jeff himself is an NHL veteran — winner of the Stanley Cup in 1992 with the Pittsburgh Penguins — and no stranger to the demands of the pro game, it was “just yesterday” that Jakob was tumbling around backyard rinks in his first pair of skates.

Now Jeff watches from the stands with a mix of parental pride and nerves.

“When you’re a player, you’re nervous up until the game, then you go through, you have that first hit and you’re into it,” he said, “but as a parent you’re still nervous halfway through the second period.”

But what makes his father nervous is what Sean Lafortune says makes Jakob a player to watch.

Lafortune is the scouting director for TheScout.ca, a go-to website for Canadian minor midget scouting.

“He’s a great skater, he’s raw offensively but he makes good decisions. He shows an ability to break things down and make quick plays. . . . Just everything about his game screams long-term potential,” Lafortune said. “He battles, he fights for every inch he gets.”

Jakob wants to go as far as he can in hockey: the NHL, team captain, hopefully a Stanley Cup, maybe an Olympic gold medal.

“It should be fun and I still try to have as much fun as possible,” he said. “You need to (enjoy it). If you don’t, it’ll be a struggle to have a good time with the process.”

Despite Jakob’s obvious talent and the scouting interest, Jeff Chychrun is hesitant to create heightened expectations for his son, worried about “setting an unrealistic bar.”

“Just go out and enjoy playing the game,” he said. “Work hard in school and sometimes things happen.”

Things are happening; the big question now is whether Jakob will don red-and-white or stars-and-stripes when he pursues his Olympic dreams.

Enthusiastic fans on online message boards seem to think his OHL move — which came after he was denied exceptional status to play in the USHL early — points to a Canadian future.

“Based on the fact that his dad’s from there and then based on the fact that he wants to play for Team Ontario,” Lafortune agreed.

Yet that’s the one hockey decision Jeff Chychrun wants to put off as long as possible.

“Either one would be an honour to play for. I don’t think either is a bad option,” he said. “But growing up it’s a tough, tough call.”

With files from Kim Nursall

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For reference, that is 15 year old Jakob Chychrun standing next to Kris Letang

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Chychrun seriously doesn't look like he's 15 years old. Also he's still really young I'd wait 2-3 more years before jumping on the bandwagon.

he's a freak of nature on skates. He's got a 20 minute scout video out where he looks like a man amongst literal boys.

He'll be a franchise d man if he pans out the way his skill and size say he should

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Lindros played the game on the edge and unfortunately in today game he wouldn't have the success like he did in his time. He'd still be an effective player just not near the dominating force he was. Many of the hit he lay are considered suspension worthy. Todays game isn't really built for the hard hitters. Look at Torres. Stevens is another guy that strived in his time but wouldn't be the same type of dynamic player in todays game.

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I mean the only thing remotely close to him was Bertuzzi. Even that is unfair. Lindros is a once in a life time type player. He was mean, big, skilled, and could skate very well. We might see 1 more Lindros in the next 50 years. Doubt it a lot though.

Ahem,

Mr. Hockey would like to have a word with you.

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He did the Nords/Avs the biggest favor ever by refusing to report.

He was traded for Peter Forsberg, Ron Hextall, Mike Ricci, Chris Simon, Kerry Huffman, Steve Duchesne, a 1st in 1993, a 1st in 1994 and $15 million bucks. Which at the time was worth approx 21 million Canadian.

Just a mind boggling trade.

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Sure? I mean only so much as there will ever be any player named Eric Lindros that plays like Lindros and has all the other issues/pros/cons that Lindros had, but sure.

You're essentially asking if there will ever be a powerforward that can dominate the game offensively like Lindros did. The law of averages says yes.

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