With less than two months remaining until the NHL’s March 3 trade deadline, we’re bringing you one deadline-focused story each day at Daily Faceoff.
Today we’re going to focus on Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun, who was No. 2 on our latest Trade Targets board last week.
2023 Trade Deadline Countdown: 52 Days
- Defenseman, Arizona Coyotes
- Shoots: Left
- Age: 24
- Height: 6’2″ | Weight: 210 lbs.
- Cap Hit: $4.65 million AAV
- Term: 2 seasons remaining
- Trade Clauses: None currently, 10-team ‘no-trade’ list kicks in on July 1
- Stats: 24 GP, 5 goals, 15 assists, 20 points, 22:43 avg TOI
- Career: 7th season (all with Arizona), 361 GP, 58 goals, 162 points, 20:58 avg TOI
Archetype and Ideal Role
Power Play Specialist, Middle Pair
Chychrun did not make the Daily Faceoff Archetype Rankings in the Top 20 as either a Puck Mover or Shutdown Defender, so the question is, what exactly is his identity? Chychrun is best suited to play in a team’s middle pair and be used as an elite shot threat on the power play.
There is no question Chychrun produces offense from the back end when healthy. He is on pace for a 17-goal season this year after returning from two offseason surgeries on Nov. 21. Over the last five years, Chychrun is fourth in goals per 60 minutes by defensemen, trailing only Roman Josi, Dougie Hamilton and Cale Makar. His offensive prowess can be contributed to a few things. He has an extremely hard and accurate shot coupled with a quick release, which makes him a threat from distance, especially through traffic. He has good hands for a big man, so he is able to collect the puck, change the angle and let it fly. Finally, he does a great job at positioning himself to take shots prior to the puck arriving, saving himself valuable time which allows him to assess where he wants to place the puck before getting it.
Chychrun’s strength is also a huge asset. He is known as one of the more fit players in the league. When he engages on time, he can win puck battles and kickstart the breakout, or he can protect the puck in the offensive zone to make small plays to his forwards.
That strength also translates to his skating. The son of a former NHLer, Chychrun is a powerful skater with good mobility. His feet allow him to gap well through the neutral zone and challenge offenses. When pucks are dumped in behind him, he can turn and retrieve them without the forecheck doing too much damage. His fluid skating also allows him to recover when he gets in trouble from being too aggressive or making the wrong read.
Buyer Beware: Teams believe Chychrun is an average middle pair guy as a defender. He has the tendency to be overly aggressive, especially without the puck on the offensive blueline. While some coaches love defenders that cut off offense early and often, Chychrun’s reads can sometimes get him in trouble, allowing the opposition to gain speed and make him turn. In the defensive zone, Chychrun’s aggressive nature can lead him to over-pursue and take bad angles in coverage, causing breakdowns in tight and high-quality scoring chances against. He can also get caught watching the puck, failing to recognize danger around him as the weak defender.