NHL Mock Draft 2021: Columbus Blue Jackets select Daniil Chayka

In the mold of fellow Russian Vladislav Gavrikov, he can be a strong shutdown player for any team in the NHL - so long as his development track continues

With the 31st and final pick of the 2021 SB Nation NHL Mock Draft, the Columbus Blue Jackets select Daniil Chayka, defenseman, from CSKA Moskva.

These were the players selected after our previous selection:

25. Francesco Pinelli - MIN
26. Brennan Othmann - CAR
27. Olen Zellweger - COL
28. Simon Robertsson - NJD
29. Zach Dean - DET (via VGK)
30. Xavier Bourgault - MTL

I still wanted to get a center or defensemen, but this group included two centers in Pinelli and Dean and one defenseman in Zellweger. In most rankings, the next batch of centers could have been considered a reach at #31. For defenders, however, Chayka seemed to come up frequently as a late first round pick. The value is there, in addition to filling a major organizational need.

I wrote yesterday about the Russian factor with regards to Nikita Chibrikov, but Chayka is different. He has already played in North America, including two seasons with the Guelph Storm of the OHL. He went back home to Russia this past season, but only because of COVID. He could be interested in coming back to this side of the world sooner, and there won’t be any adjustment necessary for the North American ice size.

We were going to run Chayka’s prospect profile tomorrow, so here it is now. After you read it, be sure to vote below in polls about this pick and about our mock draft performance generally.

Daniil Chayka

Position: Defenseman
Team: CSKA Moskva/KHL
Date of Birth: October 22, 2002
Birthplace: Moskva, Russia
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 185
Shoots: Left


Ranked #39 by FCHOCKEY
Ranked #13 by NEUTRAL ZONE
Ranked #19 by TSN/BOB McKENZIE
Ranked #44 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #21 by TSN/CRAIG BUTTON
Ranked #5 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (EU Skaters)
Ranked #24 by SPORTSNET’S
Ranked #39 by SMAHT SCOUTING

2020-21 Stats

Chayka played games for CSKA Moscow in the KHL, as well as Zvezda Moscow and Krasnaya Armiya Moskva in the VHL and MHL respectively. These stats reflect the combination of stats between the three leagues.

Games Played: 26
Goals: 2
Assists: 5
Points: 7
PIM: 2

Chayka, a Russian born defenseman who had been developing in the Canadian junior system, returned to Russia this past season with the OHL’s season cancelled. Chayka’s skill as a defenseman is on the defensive side - he is not a gifted offensive blue liner, but is a solid shutdown pairing prospect. He is known for keeping plays to the perimeter and strong gap control that limits passing lanes.

Scouting Reports

“He (Chayka) needs to get a bit stronger and add the physical element to his game as that remains one area of weakness for him in his own end. He reads attacks well and gaps up to the puck carrier well in transition, using his stick to knock the puck free. His offensive game can be a bit frustrating at times as we see many of the tools that should lead him to be a threat as an attacker but they rarely come together at once.” – Tony Ferrari, Dobber Prospects

“Aside from his lack of physical play, I have enjoyed Chayka’s response to loose pucks and puck movement in general. Chayka is quick on his feet. He will quickly put on the jets to hunt down loose pucks and he will keep his foot on the gas when attackers make sudden changes in direction.” – Josh Tessler, Smaht Scouting

Chayka does an excellent job of keeping plays to the outside and taking away the middle of the ice. His strong lateral movement helps him to maintain gap control and forces attackers to the outside. Once his man is on the perimeter, he does a good job of taking away passing lanes and forcing them into a shot from a tough angle. Chayka’s long stick and quick movement are real assets here. He is willing to play physical to protect that ice and keeps his opponent to the outside in the cycle game. As he continues to grow, he should get even more physical in board battles and in protecting the front of net. - Last Word on Sports



Who would you pick at #31 in this mock draft?

I agree with picking Daniil Chayka16
I’d take a different defenseman, Stanislav Svozil1
I’d take a different defenseman, Sean Behrens1
I’d take a forward, like Zachary L’Heureux8
Other (make your case in the comments)3

What grade would you give The Cannon for their 2021 Mock Draft class? (Eklund, Chibrikov, Chayka)

Fire the fictional Jarmo3

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