Man-boy Chychrun may not go No. 1 in OHL

Ken Campbell
Jakob Chychrun

The inner workings of junior hockey may prevent boy-man prospect Jakob Chychrun from being drafted first overall in the Ontario League this year than his season-ending shoulder injury.

With the OHL Cup minor midget tournament starting Tuesday, the field is that much more wide open with the news that Chychrun, the Florida-born son of former NHLer Jeff Chychrun and the leading candidate to go first overall in the OHL draft, will miss the tournament because of a shoulder separation. During his teams Greater Toronto Hockey League championship series against the Toronto Marlies, Chychrun hit a player into the boards and suffered a shoulder separation that will keep him off the ice for four-to-six weeks.

Until recently, it had been assumed that Chychrun would be taken first overall in the OHL draft, but there are now whispers that the Sarnia Sting, which has already secured the first overall pick, may instead take Adam Mascherin, a high-scoring winger from the Vaughan Kings. Mascherin, who has been compared to Phil Kessel by some scouts, is 5-foot-9 and 190 pounds and owns a deadly shot. He scored 67 goals and 129 points in 61 games in the Toronto minor midget league this season and as a call-up with the Georgetown Raiders Jr. A team, had five goals and 12 points in five regular season games and four goals and five points in four playoff games.

There is talk the Sting might take Mascherin because the team believes it would lose Chychrun after two years to the NHL, whereas a smaller player such as Mascherin would play in the OHL for four years. It was the same line of thinking the Barrie Colts had in 1995 when they took Daniel Tkaczuk over Joe Thornton in the draft. But some of that talk is also because there is a belief that Chychrun is lukewarm about reporting to Sarnia, which is entirely within his right. No 16-year-old kid should be forced to pick up and play somewhere he’s not comfortable if he has options and choices.

The OHL Cup is essentially the all-Ontario midget AAA championship and brings together most of the top prospects for the OHL draft. Unfortunately, the Detroit Honeybaked midget team, which would have entered as the favorite, cannot play in the tournament because it conflicts with the Michigan state championship. (As an interesting aside, one of the teams is the Whitby Wildcats, who recently won the Ontario Minor Hockey League championship, and are coached by OHL commissioner David Branch.)

Some of the other top prospects in the OHL Cup, which runs from Tuesday to Sunday in Toronto, include:

Michael McLeod: A center for the Toronto Marlies, McLeod has terrific hands and hockey instincts and is 6-foot-1. But at just 160 pounds, he has some filling out to do.

Victor Mete: A defenseman for the Toronto Jr. Canadiens, Mete is an outstanding skater and thinks the game on an all-world level. He was one of the main reasons the Canadiens won the GTHL this season, but he’s only 5-foot-10.

Brandon Saigeon: The Hamilton Jr. Bulldog played minor midget last season and dominated offensively in 2013-14 playing against players his own age. He can play either center or left wing.

Logan Stanley: Part of a very large blueline corps for the Waterloo Wolves, Stanley stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 200 pounds. And he doesn’t turn 16 until the end of May.

BOZON UPDATE: The agent for Montreal Canadiens prospect Tim Bozon said Monday afternoon that he client is still in an induced coma with meningitis, but things are improving.

“We’re cautiously optimistic,” Roland Thompson said.

Bozon, who was admitted into a Saskatoon hospital last week, is the son of former NHLer Philippe. He plays for the Kootenay Ice of the Western League and became ill while on a road trip. Thompson said the infection has been clearing up, but there is still concern about how much, if any, permanent damage it might have caused. And that will not be known until doctors take him out of the induced coma.