Canadiens Trade Rychel to Flames for Shinkaruk

The Montreal Canadiens have traded left-winger Kerby Rychel to the Calgary Flames in exchange for fellow left-winger Hunter Shinkaruk, the Canadiens announced Monday. This deal is a minor one that will see Shinkaruk and Rychel sent to their third and fourth NHL teams respectively since being drafted in 2013.

This deal will likely serve as a fresh opportunity for both Rychel and Shinkaruk who, despite being selected 19th and 24th in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft respectively, have both failed to catch on as full-time NHL players.

In Rychel, the Flames are getting a 6-foot-1, 207-pound left winger who spent the majority of the 2017-18 season in the AHL, split between the Toronto Marlies and Laval Rocket. Part of the deal that saw Tomas Plekanec traded from Montreal to Toronto (before ultimately re-signing in Montreal in the offseason), Rychel scored 18 goals and 42 points in 71 games in the AHL last season and even managed to score one goal and two points in four games with the Canadiens in the NHL.

Kerby Rychel Canadiens
Kerby Rychel and Jimmy Howard (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Originally drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2013, expectations were high for Rychel who had proven to be a star scorer in his time in the AHL, scoring 41 goals and 74 points in 68 in 2011-12, 40 goals and 87 points in 68 games in 2012-13, both with the Windsor Spitfires, and then another 34 goals and 90 points in 58 games in his final OHL season, split between Windsor and the Guelph Storm. He also added an additional 11 goals and 32 points in 20 postseason games with Guelph that season.

Unfortunately, things haven’t yet clicked for Rychel and though he’s turning 24 in October, he’s only played in 41 games, scoring three goals and 14 points in that time.

Shinkaruk Experiencing Similar Career Path

Shinkaruk’s trajectory has been quite similar to Rychel as he had a breakout season in 2011-12 with Medicine Hat in the WHL, scoring 49 goals and 91 points in 66 games followed by an impressive 37 goals and 86 points in 64 games in his draft year. He would only score five goals and 16 points in 18 games in his final season in the WHL but found success early with the Utica Comets in the AHL as a member of the Canucks’ organization.

Canadiens Hunter Shinkaruk
Hunter Shinkaruk as a member of the Calgary Flames and Ethan Bear (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

Scoring 16 goals and 31 points in 74 points in his professional debut season, Shinkaruk picked up the pace in his second season scoring 21 goals and 39 points in only 45 games the following year. Despite the early success, Shinkaruk’s production has fallen off in recent seasons and he’s only played in 15 NHL games, one with the Canucks, 14 with the Flames, scoring two goals and four points in those opportunities.

Shinkaruk was signed to a one-year, two-way contract shortly after the trade was announced.

This isn’t the first time being traded for either Rychel or Shinkaruk and while a change of scenery has yet to propel them to the next level as of yet, there’s still hope that they can become serviceable NHL players given their proven ability to produce at lower levels. It’s unlikely that either player will become what teams and scouts expected them to be coming out of the 2013 Draft but the NHL is still within reach for both players.