The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired former 19th overall selection in 2013, left winger Kerby Rychel, from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for 23-year-old defenceman Scott Harrington.

Turning 22 in October, Rychel has not caught on full time in the NHL yet, splitting time between the Blue Jackets and Lake Erie last season. He has put up 12 points in 37 career NHL games to date, but averaged only 9:30 in ice time in 32 games in 2015-16.

In 37 AHL games this past season, Rychel put up 27 points followed by an individually disappointing playoff campaign with one goal and six points in 17 games during the Monsters’ Calder Cup-winning playoff run.

A conditional pick is also headed Columbus’ way.

Originally acquired in the Phil Kessel trade, Scott Harrington appeared in 15 games for the Maple Leafs last season and played only 13 minutes a game on average. After getting sent down to the Marlies, he appeared in 14 games before an upper-body injury ended his season in early January. As an RFA, it wasn’t a sure thing that the Leafs would sign him to one of their 50 SPC slots.

While Rychel hasn’t shown the progress the Blue Jackets hoped to see from him since drafting him 18th overall, Harrington has limited skills and appears at this stage to top out as a bottom pair or depth defenceman at the NHL level. The Leafs are hoping they’ve acquired the younger player (about a year and a half younger) with the higher upside who will benefit from a change in scenery in Toronto.

The relationship with Blue Jackets management has not been the smoothest and it has been reported that Rychel’s camp asked for a move prior to last season:

Rychel is an interesting case. You remember the dust-up at development camp, when Rychel’s camp — agent, father, possibly others — met with Blue Jackets’ officials and demanded an explanation as to why Rychel seems parked so deep on the depth chart? The Dispatch has been told repeatedly that Rychel asked for a trade before the season started, but the Blue Jackets have shown no interest in trading him. The New York Rangers, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Anaheim, Boston and Detroit have all reportedly shown interest, and why not? Rychel is a point-a-game player in the AHL and has plenty of sand paper

A 2015-16 season in which Rychel played just 9:30 per game on average and split time with the AHL affiliate obviously did not allay the Rychel camp’s concerns.

It remains to be seen if Rychel’s goal-scoring abilities in junior will ever translate to the NHL and to what degree, but he does have the size and edge to suggest he could fill a role on the lower-roster provided he proves trustworthy enough defensively.

Rychel is signed for one more season at a $863,000 cap hit before becoming an RFA July 1, 2017.

Kerby Rychel Scouting Report

courtesy of McKeen’s Hockey from 2013

Rode a scorching February (12-9-16-25) – buoyed by the return of Alex Khokhlachev – to his second straight 40-goal campaign.. produced 48 points in his final 29 games (29-17-31-48) with Khokhlachev in tow – and led Windsor with a career-high 87 points .. the son of former NHLer Warren Rychel, currently Windsor GM and part-owner ... big, brawny sniper .. difficult to knock off the puck when imposing his will to work the slot and down low .. exhibits smarts and awareness in the offensive zone .. creates chances and can generate a cycle – equipped with a strong, thick body to administer checks .. plays with some ‘push back’ – and won’t hesitate finishing a hit or sticking a player .. still needs to be harder on loose pucks – gives up too easily at times .. hands are strong and skilled .. more shooter than distributor though – and benefits from playing alongside a playmaking center .. top weapons are a potent snapshot and wristshot – which explode off his stick .. opportunistic in scoring areas and skillful preparing his stick – usually doesn’t need second opportunities to bury chances .. sluggish skater with a laboured stride .. feet turn and spray out during startup – limiting his acceleration burst .. must dig deep to generate speed .. body mechanics are stiff from the hips down – giving rise to inherent balance issues – such as turns and pivots .. not nearly as consistent with his defensive efforts .. habitually the last man back – and often floating high waiting for a stretch pass .. shift management also became an issue as he over-extends shifts and takes himself off at inopportune times .. displayed heightened intensity and more of an appetite for the puck in `11-12 .. his skating causes the most concern though, since he showed little improvement over the course of the season.

Kerby Rychel Statistics

Born: 1994-10-07
Birthplace: Torrance, CA, USA
Age: 21
Nationality: Canadian / USA
Position: LW/RW
Shoots: Left
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 214 lbs
 2008-09 Sun County Panthers Minor Midget AHMMPL2611172824| Playoffs1285132
 2009-10 Belle Tire U16 T1EHL U162913102329|
 2010-11 Mississauga St. Michael's Majors OHL30268475|
 Windsor Spitfires OHL32581326-1| Playoffs1825714-4 
 Canada Ontario U17 WHC-1752240|
 2011-12 Windsor Spitfires OHL68413374543| Playoffs42025-3 
 Canada U18  WJC-187538124|
 2012-13 Windsor Spitfires OHL6840478794-21|
 2013-14 Windsor Spitfires  OHL271622381513|
 Guelph Storm OHL311833512828| Playoffs201121322320 
 Canada U20 WJC-2070000-3|
 2014-15 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL503323|
 Springfield Falcons AHL51122133437|
 2015-16 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL32279155|
 Lake Erie Monsters AHL3762127531| Playoffs1715626-4 
 2016-17 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL-----|