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Posted By: Carmack Lloyd on 10/29/2015
My name is Carmack Lloyd and I'll be covering CHL content in different leagues like the OHL, QMJHL, or WHL for the NHL Draft at Draft Utopia. Every month you'll hear my unique insight on something in the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, or the Western Hockey League.
Last week I spoke with 3 NHL Amateur Scouts who gave me their brief opinions on Jakob Chychrun of the Sarnia Sting and Sean Day of the Mississauga Steelheads. Chychrun and Day are expected to be the first two defensemen taken in the 2016 NHL Draft and both defensemen are two of the best in the OHL.
The 3 Amateur Scouts I spoke with were Paul Merritt of the Buffalo Sabres, Bert Marshall who is the OHL and WHL scout on the Carolina Hurricanes, and Tony Martino of the Toronto Maple Leafs. I was interested to see what the scouts had to say about each prospect. Regardless of what the scouts think it will be up to the Director Of Scouting Services and the GM who ultimately decide who each team drafts.
Paul Merritt Buffalo Sabres: Both Jakob Chychrun and Sean Day are unique talents on the blue line. Both are line 1 talents, but Jakob Chychrun is more ready at this point.
Chychrun got named an alternate captain as a rookie. Right now the Sting have surrendered the second fewest goals in the Western Conference during the 2015 season thanks to Chychrun's play on the blue line. Chychrun took over this defense last season after Anthony DeAngelo got traded and he possesses tremendous leadership skills.
Day was granted exceptional status into the OHL at age 15. Previous OHL players to receive exceptional status include John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, and Connor McDavid. All of those guys went first overall, but Day isn't even the best defenseman. Still, Day is the only defenseman with line 1 potential outside of Chychrun. Right now I'd give Chychrun an A grade and say he's NHL ready. Sean Day is a B grade NHL defenseman with potential to be an A grade defenseman over time. He could play on the third line of an NHL team at this point, but keeping him in the juniors for a year to develop him so Day is more likely to blossom into a line 1 defenseman seems like the smarter decision rather than rush him up to the NHL.
Buffalo's biggest need lied on defense so if Chychrun or Day were available at our pick I'd try to sell Greg Royce our Director Of Amateur Scouting on one of these two players.
Bert Marshall Carolina Hurricanes: Carolina has done a great job reloading on defense with Haydn Fleury and Noah Hanifin the last two years. I expect the Hurricanes to address offense, but I love both of these defensemen because are both outstanding offensive defenders that can use their stick handling and passing skills to create scoring chances. Both of these kids check and hit real hard. These two OHL players could be All Stars one day. Your blue line will get a fierce competitor in June if you manage to draft one of these guys.
I'm gonna try to convince Tim MacDonald to draft defense for a third year in a row with James Wisniewski's injury. I just get this feeling that the Hurricanes address offense in 2016 because we need more right wingers and Robert Kron our European Scout has been very impressed with both Auston Matthews and Jesse Puljujarvi overseas.
Tony Martino Toronto Maple Leafs: Jakob Chychurn is arguably the best defenseman to enter the NHL Draft since Aaron Ekblad. He's not as exceptional, but he does everything well and could make an instant impact on our top line with Morgan Reilly if the team parted ways with Dion Phaneuf at some point. Chychrun had 33 points as a rookie and right now has 10 points in 12 games this season. Chychrun improved his -11 +/- ratio to +11 so far in year two so he's doing a much better job preventing goals this season.
Sean Day on the other hand needs two more years to develop in the OHL. Day only has 8 points in 13 games. The other concern is it took him two years to get his +/- ratio down from -25 to 0. Day has to have a + ratio in the +/- ratio department on a consistent basis and he's not doing that yet so he will need more time in the OHL.
The fact that Day has been in the OHL for three seasons and has never been promoted to captain or alternate captain raises questions with his leadership. Day could succeed as a line 2 guy in Toronto if we are patient with him. He's not gonna step in and replace someone like Dion Phaneuf though.
The 3 scouts I spoke to seem to believe that Chychrun is the best defenseman in the 2016 NHL Draft. That's what most of the consensus seems to believe as well. Chychrun has a defenders body and the face that looks very similar to Steven Stamkos who also played with the Sarnia Sting as a lad.
I may have more updates on Sarnia Sting players at some point in the near future. For now Jakob Chychrun has to be the top prospect from the Sarnia Sting and probably the entire OHL at this point in the very early stages of assessing players for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.