Friday, September 11, 2015

Kerby Rychel Autograph Card

There are many thing I don't get about Kerby Rychel; I hadn't followed his Juniors career closely, but I thought he may have been chosen a tad early when the Columbus Blue Jackets picked him with the 19th-overall pick at the 2013 draft, ahead of Anthony Mantha (20th), Zachary Fucale (36th), Eric Comrie (59th), Anthony Duclair (80th), Sven Andrighetto (86th), Jordan Subban (115th), and Kristers Gudlevskis (124th); NHL Central Scouting had classified him as the 17th North American skater, which sometimes means a second-round position.

His showing at the 2014 World Juniors (no points in 7 games for Team Canada in a fourth-place finish) was underwhelming, to say the least, but he did make the Memorial Cup All-Star Team later that year.

But once the Jackets had me convinced he was a blue-chip power forward prospect, I just couldn't believe the number of trade rumours he was a part of for the last couple of seasons, as though the fans who were supposed to be excited about him didn't want him at all.

Most smart fans will accept two types of players getting traded: those not pulling their weight, or those who disrupt team spirit (usually by holding out on what should be easy contract negotiations, à la Ryan Johansen), but the best prospect at forward? That seemed bizarre.

And yet, he's still around, and about to travel with the rest of Columbus' rookies to Traverse City for the Detroit Red Wings' annual rookie tournament, to help the Jackets defend their title, after which he'll proceed to the team's NHL training camp and try to make the opening night roster.

I'm curious to see how it pans out for the kid who turns 21 on October 7th, but with two 40-goal seasons in the OHL, he'll be given all the right opportunities by GM Jarmo Kekäläinen. Here he is sporting the Windsor Spitfires' white uniform, with card #A-KR from In The Game's 2013-14 Heroes And Prospects set, featuring a black-sharpie on-sticker autograph:
One thing's for sure, former NHLer (and Stanley Cup winner with the 1996 Colorado Avalanche) Warren Rychel's son does have impeccable taste in music:

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