The future looks promising for Guelph Storm defenseman Daniil Chayka as he’s projected to be selected this weekend at the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. Measuring in at 6-foot-3 and 187 lbs, Chayka’s a left-shot smooth-skating blueliner with excellent mobility. He was drafted by the Storm in the first round of the 2018 OHL Priority Selection and has posted 48 points (16 goals, 32 assists) in 112 games.
At only eight-teen years old Chayka’s already had tremendous success. From winning an OHL Cup with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens in 2018, to winning an OHL Championship with Guelph and being named to the OHL Second All-Rookie Team in 2018-19, Chayka also secured two gold medals with Russia: (1) 2018 U17 World Championship and (2) 2019 Hlinka Gretzky U18 Cup, and finally, he represented Russia at the 2020-21 World Juniors.
Toronto Jr. Canadiens U16 AAA
At 15-years-old Chayka relocated to North America in 2017 to play for the Toronto Jr. Canadiens U16 AAA team. Producing 33 points (15 goals, 18 assists) in 45 U16 games, Chayka also posted 19 points (10 goals, 9 assists) in 31 GTHL U16 games.
At the season-ending OHL Cup tournament, Chayka tallied six points (four goals, two assists) in seven games, including the overtime winner in the semi-final vs. the Toronto Marlboros. Chayka and the Jr. Canadiens went on to defeat the Vaughan Kings in the final to capture their first OHL Cup title since 2008.
Proving himself as a reliable defenseman, Chayka was selected 7th overall in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection draft by the Guelph Storm.
In his rookie season in the OHL, Chayka played a minor role on the Storm. He posted a modest 14 points in 56 games, however at just 16 years old, Chayka was the youngest player on a mostly veteran Storm team.
In his third OHL appearance on Fri, Sept 28th, Chayka scored his first [OHL] goal on home ice against the Owen Sound Attack. Firing a wrist shot from the top of the circle, Chayka snuck the puck past Attack goaltender Guzda for the game’s opening goal in what turned out to be a 6-2 Guelph Storm victory.
That year, Chayka tallied 14 points (5 goals, 9 assists) and averaged an estimated ice time of 14.78 minutes a game. He earned a spot on the OHL Second All-Rookie Team and played in 20 playoff games as the Storm went on to win the OHL Championship. Chayka also played in four Memorial Cup games with no penalty minutes and an even +/-.
In 2019-20, his pre-draft season, Chayka returned to the Storm and more than doubled his points in the same number of games played (34 points—11 goals, 23 assists) and his estimated ice time increased to an average 22.29 minutes per game.
That same year, Chayka was named as an alternate Captain for Russia’s U18 team and helped them to a Gold Medal at the Hlkinka Grezky Cup with two assists in five games. He also posted one goal and one assist in six games during the U19 World Junior A Challenge.
Chayka spent the 2020-21 season, his draft year, on loan to CSKA Moscow where he competed in the KHL, VHL (2nd tier), and MHL (juniors). He spent the first half of the season in the KHL and the other half in the VHL and MHL.
First, Chayka appeared in 11 games for CSKA where he had one goal and one assist and averaged 10:37 minutes a game. Next, Chayka spent 10 regular season games with Zvezda Moscow (VHL) where he had one assist and averaged 8:53 minutes a game. Lastly, playing five regular season games for the Krasnaya Armiya Moscow (MHL) Chayka posted 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists) and averaged 16:34 minutes a game.
Notably, this past season Chayka also represented Russia at the World Juniors playing in six games with no points. Taking a 4-1 loss to Finland in the bronze medal game, Chayka and team Russia walked away with fourth place.
As an eligible pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft, Chayka’s projected to be selected either in the late stages of round one, or early in round two (see below for rankings).
NHL Entry Draft round one selections will take place this Fri, July 23rd starting at 8 p.m., and will reconvene on Sat, July 24th at 11 a.m. for rounds two through seven. The NHL Draft can be virtually observed by clicking here.