It has been a busy week for the Arizona Coyotes. After signing Luke Schenn, the Coyotes turned to locking up their promising young American defenseman by singing Jakob Chychrun, 18, and re-signing Connor Murphy, 23.
Chychrun signed an entry-level contract with Arizona after being selected 16th overall in the 2016 draft. Because of the club’s policy, the terms of the contract have not been released. The 6’2”, 210lbs, defensemen will either play with the Coyotes or their AHL affiliate the Tucson Roadrunners, formally known as the Springfield Falcons.
While Chychrun has the size to jump right into the league, he will most likely start his career with the Roadrunners and be called up if the Coyotes need him. The 2017/18 season will most likely be his first complete season in the NHL.
“Jakob is a highly-skilled player with an all-around game. He has a great work ethic and is very determined. We look forward to watching him continue to develop this season,” said Coyotes General Manager John Chayka, per NHL.
Last season with the Sarnia Sting, Chychrun had 11 goals and 59 points. In his two seasons with the Sting, he had 27 goals and 82 points in 104 games played – ranking him fourth among OHL defensemen.
Like Chychrun, former Sarnia Sting defenseman Connor Murphy inked a contract with Arizona.
Murphy signed a six-year contract and has spent his entire three-year career with the Coyotes.
The 6’4”, 212lbs defenseman is coming off career highs in goals, assists, and points. He had six goals and 17 points with a +5 rating.
His new deal is quite a risk, especially for such a young defenseman, however, he’s proven that he can contribute in this league and can continue to get better.
“This is certainly a projection… We feel on the flipside of this is that we’re getting a right-shot defenseman that can play in our top four and play with some real good players,” said Chayka to the Yotes’ official website.
Murphy is a skilled, consistent, big, physical and young defenseman, which is hard to find in this league. It’s even harder to convince defensemen to come to a non-hockey market with a losing record, so it is better to keep those that have potential.
“He’s kind of a hard defenseman to find in a sense that he has an ability to play against the game’s top competition and defend well, but (with him) you’re not losing mobility and puck movement,” continued Chayka.