Chychrun likely to start season with Coyotes

Jeff Vinnick / National Hockey League / Getty

Jakob Chychrun appears to be on the fast track to the NHL.

The 16th overall selection in last year's draft, Chychrun, 18, could make his NHL debut as soon as this season, according to Arizona Coyotes associate coach Jim Playfair.

"We're looking a little deeper than that, we're probably looking at the 10-game segment to start the season where we can play with him there too," Playfair said. "It's not a rush decision with him."

Chychrun can play nine games in the NHL before burning the first year on his entry-level contract.

A projected top pick in last year's draft, the Coyotes selected Chychrun following a trade with the Detroit Red Wings that sent cap casualty Pavel Datsyuk, and the 16th pick, to the desert.

"(Chychrun) is a real solid player. I think he's a fun kid to watch play. He's a real mature player obviously and he's going to make some hard decisions for us," Playfair added. "He's done everything consistently that's allowed us to look at him as being a real solid player at this time."

Chychrun isn't the only rookie competing for a job with the Coyotes, with the likes of Dylan Strome, Christian Dvorak, and Lawson Crouse among the names fighting for spots up front. As for Chychrun, he'll need to win a spot on the left side over Kevin Connauton and Klas Dahlbeck, who both have several years of pro experience under their belts.

The Florida-born Chychrun, who will return to the OHL's Sarnia Sting if he does not make the NHL this season, will discover his fate soon enough, with the team's 23-man roster due Oct. 11.

As Coyotes general manager John Chayka told TSN's Bob McKenzie, "Physically, he's a man (6-2, 215). Unlike a lot of 18 year olds, he isn't physically overmatched (in the NHL). He has the tools to be new-age physical - below the dots in his own end, he's able to lean on people and eliminate them.

"He's moving the puck well, getting shots on net. He has all the tools to be a very good NHL defenceman."

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Chychrun likely to start season with Coyotes
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