A defensive blueliner who has some offensive tools but hasn’t quite put that part of his game together yet. A better asset in real-life than fantasy unless you play in a deeper multi-cat league.
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July 2023 – Following a strong final season with Guelph, Chayka experienced some turbulence in his first pro season. As a young defenseman playing against men, he was somewhat slow to assert himself on the ice at times this past season given his frame. His offensive progression stagnated over his two seasons in Guelph, and an eight point showing through 57 games played in the AHL this season indicates he will likely be a defensive specialist from the backend. Gifted with strong hand-eye coordination, look for him to make use of his range to cut off passes and create turnovers, which may in turn lead to tertiary offense as he progresses. He will be back in Henderson to begin 2023-24. Taylor Davis
January 2022 – Chayka’s 2021-22 return to the OHL after a one-year hiatus in several Russian leagues has been rather successful. Vegas’ second round 2021 draft selection is tied for tenth in scoring among OHL defensemen with seven goals and 15 assists in 27 contests, good for third in total points among all Guelph Storm skaters, and tops among the squad’s blueliners. He is also tied for sixth among league defensemen in power play assists with ten. Thought to be a prime candidate for a spot on the Russian World Junior Championships roster, Chayka was left off the team in favor of an entire squad of players currently training and playing in Russia, but that is by no means a knock on his talent, performance, or future promise. Kevin Wickersham
July 2021 – Chayka was selected in the second round, 38th overall by the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2021 NHL Draft. Nick Richard
February 2021 – A defensive-minded blueliner, Daniil Chayka generally doesn’t wind up on highlight reels but he gets the job done. With his long reach and excellent mobility, Chayka is a zone entry killer. Thwarting plays before they even get a chance to generate offense or sustain pressure, Chayka should be a plus defender at the NHL level. After spending the last few years in Canada, first with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens and then the most recent two seasons with Guelph, he has split time between the KHL, VHL, and MHL this season and has shown the ability to translate most of his defensive game to each level in Russia. He 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. His mobility is a strength and his puck skills are solid. He possesses an above-average shot as well but has a habit of finding shin pads. He can make all of the simple passes and has shown it off as a secondary powerplay quarterback at times but the long-term future for Chayka likely doesn’t include much time with the man advantage. He was much more effective and efficient offensively in North America so there may be a stylistic issue as well in Russia. The reality of the situation is that Chayka will likely be a much more valuable real-life asset for an NHL team than a fantasy hockey asset for your team. He will bring a bit of extra value as a shot-blocker and could be on the positive end of shot-differentials which could also play into some deeper, more diverse scoring leagues. If you’re looking for a high-scoring defender, Chayka probably won’t be your guy, however. Tony Ferrari