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Completes The Top-4
The Ottawa Senators have had a glaring issue hurting the team for the last half-decade. This has been their inability to ice a competent top-4 defense. Since the rebuild began, the Senators have relied heavily on the success of Thomas Chabot and his ability to carry a weak defensive unit. Over time, the Senators were able to add some impactful defenders like Artem Zub but lacked dynamic defenders who could control play. That changed this season with the emergence of Jake Sanderson and the acquisition of Jakob Chychrun. The Senators now have three dynamic defenders who can change the game, as well as a shutdown complimentary piece in Artem Zub.
Check out this article where I look at where the new top-4 ranks among the rest of the league.
Finally Chabot Has A Partner
Since he joined the team, Thomas Chabot has never had a true partner who has been able to elevate his game. For the majority of his career, Chabot has played alongside Nikita Zaitsev who was unable to allow Chabot to play to his full potential. Not to mention Chabot has been relied upon to play a ridiculous amount of minutes and from what it looked like this season, the workload caught up to him.
While we don’t know this yet, I would expect to see Chabot playing on the left-hand side of Jakob Chychrun. Chychrun is a partner who is capable of playing to the level of Chabot which will negate the need for Chabot to cover for his partner. Not to mention, Jakob Chychrun and Jake Sanderson can eat some of the minutes Chabot has been tasked with handling throughout his career.
Check out this article for a more detailed breakdown of Chabot’s season.
Jakob Chychrun Last Couple Of Seasons
Over the last couple of seasons, Jakob Chychrun has shown he can be an elite top-pair defender. The chart above shows a weighted average of Chychrun’s advanced statistics but as you can see, his 2021/2022 season negatively skewed these results.
2020/2021 – 18 Goals, 23 Assists, 41 Points In 56 Games
2021/2022 – 7 Goals, 14 Assists, 21 Points In 47 Games
2022/2023 – 9 Goals, 24 Assists, 33 Points In 48 Games
These totals show that the biggest concern that comes with Jakob Chychrun is his health. Chychrun is yet to play 70 games in a season, and recently he has only been playing about half of the games each year. That being said, the two-way game Chychrun offers is undeniable. He has shown elite-level offensive abilities as well as a shut-down presence.
The Advanced Metrics
This season, Chychrun displayed some remarkable advanced statistics. The primary stats that I tend to look for as an indication of a player’s contributions include his Corsi % (CF%), expected goals % (xG %), and shots for vs against % (SF%). Chychrun posted great numbers in each of these categories this season earning a 53.64 CF%, a 52.11 xG%, and a 54.47 SF%. I do not doubt that these underlying numbers are foreshadowing a tremendous 2023/2024 for Chychrun.
How Much Can Chychrun Help The Senators
This season, I am expecting Chychrun to take a huge step in his career into becoming one of the league’s very best defenders. There have been seasons in his past where Chychrun has been exceptional, especially the 2020/2021 season where he received some Norris consideration that included 9 votes (1 first-place vote). I am hoping to see Chychrun return to that level of play and with the cooperation of his body, hopefully, he can play most of the season. Outside of his abilities, I am expecting him to elevate the game of Thomas Chabot back to his former elite level.
Projections For Jakob Chychrun
This is a difficult player to project since he has had such a difficult time staying healthy. I am going to be projecting Jakob Chychrun as though he plays all 82 games (even though this is unlikely). I would expect to see Chychrun net between 12-18 goals as well as 35-45 assists for somewhere around 55 points. I think a lot of these points will come on the powerplay which will be much improved compared to that of the Coyotes. I would expect to see Chychrun play on the second unit at least to start the season, but I would not be surprised to see him elevated to the top unit at some point.
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