Player: Kerby Rychel
Drafted By: Columbus Blue Jackets (19th overall)
Position: Left Wing
Final Central Scouting Ranking: No. 17 North American skater
Height/Weight: 6'1'', 205 lbs
DOB: October 7, 1994 (18 years old)
Most Recent Affiliation: OHL, Windsor Spitfires
Kerby Rychel played for his father, Warren, who is the general manager and co-owner of the Windsor Spitfires. Because he was born late in the year (October), he has played in the OHL for the past three seasons.
Warren was an enforcer during his NHL career, but Kerby has better hands and will provide more offensive production than his father.
Over the last two seasons, Rychel has scored 81 goals with consistent production (41 in 2011-12, 40 in 2012-13) each year. His on-ice vision and passing improved in 2012-13 as his assist total increased from 33 to 47.
He also accumulated 94 penalty minutes last season and is not afraid to drop the gloves to defend his teammates.
Full Scouting Report
Kerby Rychel has good size at 6'1", 205 pounds, and assuming he adds some more bulk as he gets a little more mature, he projects as a power forward in the NHL.
Chris Edwards of Central Scouting sees a lot of potential in Rychel. "He's the type of guy who, when competing really hard, is very effective," Edwards said. "When he's banging around and separating guys from the puck, that's when he's really on his game. He has a good shot and the ability to pass the puck in traffic."
Trent Klatt of the Islanders' scouting department says, "Kerby Rychel is a fierce competitor every night and is not at all afraid to play the game in the dirty areas. He’s more of a goal scorer than a playmaker, and he’s also not afraid to drop the mitts when necessary. Rychel is a team player with some intangibles many others don’t possess."
Like many power forwards, however, it may take a little bit longer for Rychel to reach his potential because the position requires physical maturity.
NHL Player Comparison
Chris Kunitz of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Actually, Rychel probably has a little more offensive potential than Kunitz, but he'll be a strong, complimentary scorer who will play a physical game and will stand up for his teammates when asked to.
Power forwards usually need a little extra time for their bodies to mature and then for their style of play to catch up to their physical ability. Rychel needs at least one season in the AHL and then will probably play a fourth-line role in his first NHL season. Expect him to reach the NHL on a full-time basis by the 2014-15 season but not be a major contributor at the NHL level for another year or two.
If Rychel's hands continue to develop, his top-end potential would be a power forward on the top line who could score 30-35 goals in a season. More likely is a second- or third-line power forward who will score 25 goals or so and be a physical force in both ends of the ice. If his work ethic continues to be one of his biggest assets, Rychel should be a very popular player with the fans of his team.