Today’s prospect profile is on the younger brother of St. Louis Blues forward Jordan Kyrou. And much like his older brother, Christian had a breakout year this season. This has led him to being one of the biggest risers for the 2022 NHL draft, going from unranked at the start of the year to as high as the 34th ranked prospect on one list. Unlike his brother however, Christian Kyrou is a defenseman, albeit one who excels primarily on the offensive side of the puck.
Who is Christian Kyrou?
Below you can see Kyrou’s stats from Elite Prospects, as is the rest of the information in this section.
Christian Kyrou is a Canadian right-shot defenseman born in Komoka, Ontario. He is on the smaller side for a defenseman (if you care about that sort of thing), standing 5’10” and weighing 172 lbs. His birthday, September 16th, 2003, makes him the oldest prospect in this year’s draft class. If he were born a day earlier he would’ve been eligible for the 2021 draft, where he would’ve undoubtably gone unselected. I say this because Kyrou, who plays his junior hockey for the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), didn’t record a single point in the OHL prior to this season. To be fair, Kyrou doesn’t appear to have played organized hockey during last year’s COVID shutdown which saw the OHL cancel its season. It is very possible he would’ve had an excellent season last year if it weren’t for the plague ruining everything. In this reality though, Kyrou split time during the 2019-20 season between his junior B team, the Komoka Kings where he excelled production-wise (2-9-11 in 14 games), and the Erie Otters, where he played 21 games and didn’t record a single point. So it is unsurprising that Kyrou wasn’t thought of very highly coming into the 2021-22 season.
That would change after a breakout year for the Otters this season, where he finished 3rd on the team in scoring (as a defenseman), totaling 60 points in 68 games. He also finished first on the team in assists with 42. Kyrou has nothing in the way of international experience or even playoff experience, seeing as the Erie Otters haven’t made the playoffs in either season he has played for them. It is likely that Kyrou, who will be 19 at the start of next season, will continue to play a key role for the 2022-23 Erie Otters.
Christian Kyrou is the type of player that is always polarizing. He’s both under 6 foot and an offensive defenseman. And unlike some of the other offensively gifted blue-liners we’ve covered so far for the prospect series, Kyrou is a pretty one-dimensional player. That said, it’s clear he is very good at that one dimension, and depending on when he’s available and how he develops as a prospect, he could turn into a home-run pick for the team that drafts him later this month.
Where is Christian Kyrou Ranked?
As I mentioned above, Kyrou wasn’t very highly thought of in the early going and certainly didn’t appear on many early season draft rankings. Even, on McKenzie’s mid-season draft rankings, published in January, he is nowhere to be found. But Kyrou has his fans, as you will see below. I certainly get the appeal, because based on the information I’ve gathered on Kyrou, he seems like a boom or bust player.
- #48 - NHL Central Scouting (NA skaters) Final Ranking
- #36 - TSN Craig Button May Rankings
- #39 - Elite Prospects Final Rankings
- #69 - The Athletic ($) Scott Wheeler Final Rankings
- #83 - The Athletic ($) Corey Pronman May Rankings
- #44 - Will Scouch April Rankings
- #78 - FC Hockey Spring Ranking
- #57 - Smaht Scouting Final 2022 NHL Draft Rankings
- #69 - The Hockey Writers Peter Baracchini May Rankings
- #34 - The Hockey Writers Matthew Zator April Rankings
What Others Say About Christian Kyrou
The Hockey Writers Mark Scheig has this profile on Kyrou, published in May. It is a good general overview of the player. Scheig naturally praises Kyrou’s offensive ability, shot, and smarts.
Where Kyrou stands out is being able to get his shot to the target on a regular basis. While he’s not the hardest shooter, he’s one of the more accurate ones. His ability to get the puck on net allows for second and third chances on rebounds. He’s also really good at skating to the spot where his shot would be open. His overall ability to create offense makes him one of the best offensive defensemen available.
Corey Pronman and Scott Wheeler, of the Athletic, both touch on Kyrou in their rankings (linked in previous section). Like Scheig, they praise Kyrou’s offensive ability, particularly his shot and creativity. Pronman, however, diverges with the other two regarding Kyrou’s skating, noting that he isn’t as mobile as you’d like from a player his size. This sentiment is echoed by Will Scouch in his April rankings.
Christian Kyrou is one of the more creative and offensive leaning defenders in this draft. His defensive game is not great. His skating is not great. The shot and skill though? Heck yes, sign me up.
Hadi Kalakeche, of Dobber Prospects, has some more praise for Kyrou’s game. Besides the usual approval of his offensive ability, Kalakeche notes that Kyrou excels at breaking the puck out efficiently. On the other hand, a common negative of Kyrou’s game is something he also mentions in his review of the player.
The only major knock on his game is that he can get caught up-ice and be left scrambling back to prevent an odd-man rush.
I stated before that Kyrou is a one dimensional player, and while there isn’t much out there on his actual in-zone defensive abilities, he is known for taking chances and being aggressive in his decision making. That inevitably leads to some mistakes being made. Besides this, it seems that the other main area for improvement for the defenseman is his skating, even if it’s not seem as a weakness by everyone.
A Little Video
The first video I am linking to is not a highlight video, but rather a scouting report on Kyrou from Locked On Senators. I found it to be a good discussion. They point out in the clip that Kyrou being an older player could potentially work in his favor since he’ll be more mature. He’ll also be eligible for the AHL after his D+1 year rather than having to spend two more seasons in the OHL.
Below we see some of Kyrou’s highlights. You definitely see the aggressiveness and offensive ability, as well as his shot. He plays the offensive zone more like a forward than a defenseman.
Finally, here is a clip of Kyrou on the power play. Interestingly, he appears to be used on the half-wall rather than QBing the power-play from the point like you usually see with defensemen, but regardless, he once again shows off his shot with a nice goal from the left circle.
An Opinion of Sorts
Those who believe a defenseman needs to be 6’3” or taller and eat a bowl of nails for breakfast won’t want anything to do with Kyrou, who, even though he doesn’t shy away from the physical aspect of the game, has a 5 as the first number in his height and is therefore immediately disqualified by many in the sport. Similarly, those who want a blue-liner to only play defense will also dismiss this player. You know exactly what you’re getting if you select Kyrou, an offensive defenseman who will create for you, but probably allow some back the other way as well. Whether or not he makes the NHL will depend on how well he can round out his game and whether or not he can adapt his offense to the next level.
This is exactly the type of pick I would like to see the Devils make. I am of the mind you should always be swinging for the fences when drafting, because you can find middle-of-the-lineup players elsewhere much easier than you can high-end talent. Also, when you are drafting you are collecting assets, not building a team. Kyrou is a highly talented player who could end up running a team’s power play if he pans out. I suspect he will end up being drafted somewhere in the middle rounds given his big rise on Central Scouting’s board and I think the Devils would be wise to be the team that snags him if he’s available when they are selecting.
What do think of Christian Kyrou as a prospect? Do you think his style will translate to the pros, or do you think his size and lack of defensive ability will hold him back. Do you want the Devils to draft him? If so, when would you be comfortable with him as their pick? Leave your thought below and thank you for reading.