Talking about defencemen is probably my favourite thing to do because the position has evolved so much over the last 20 years that it always feels like we're on a new frontier. Regardless, there are a pair of defencemen I want to talk about today, and both were high draft picks this past fantasy season. Let's dig into Arizona's Jakob Chychrun and Vegas's Shea Theodore.
Jakob Chychrun was not a player I was focused on in draft season. It never made sense, to me, to draft him as a top-10 blue liner on a team that certainly looked destined for the lottery. With that said, I did not envision a season anywhere near this bad, fantasy-wise. I still had him breaking 40 points, and he's currently on pace for fewer than 25. That goes with the 6-7 goals he's on pace for, and it's all very ugly. The peripherals have been consistent, it has just been an awful scoring pace that has killed his value. Well, that and the minus-29 rating. That is something else we need to talk about. First, the points.
The team is struggling, mightily, to score with him on the ice. While that's not really surprising, given the quality of the team, Arizona is shooting 4.5% with him on the ice at 5-on-5. Even at their worst, over the previous two seasons, the team shot around 6.9% at 5-on-5. No defenceman from 2019-2021 had an on-ice shooting percentage under 5.8%, and fewer than 2% of all defencemen had an on-ice SH% under 6%. All this is to say, at worst, his on-ice shooting percentage should increase by about one-third the rest of the way, leading to 33% more goals, and (hypothetically) a big increase in point production. Well, "big" is relative here as we're starting at such a low scoring rate anyway. Nevertheless, it is possible we see Chychrun's point rate at 5-on-5 increase by at least 33% over the balance of the season, and that's something positive here. It would make him, ostensibly, a 30-point defenceman, which is a lot better than what he's done so far.
We need him to be more than a 30-point def