After finishing the first month of the 2015-16 season with only two wins, it would be very tempting for the Columbus Blue Jackets to rush into a trade.
A name that has been mentioned frequently since the offseason is young winger Kerby Rychel. Yes, he is one of Jarmo Kekalainen’s most tradable assets, but it would be a terrible mistake to move him, especially right now.
An Incredible Talent
Let’s get past the obvious reason first. He is a heck of a player.
— Rychel’s Ruffians (@RychelsRuffians) November 2, 2015
Rychel had a great training camp, and has been a star for the Lake Erie Monsters. In 6 games he has 6 goals and 10 points. Sooner than later he will translate this success to the big club.
Living in the Salary-Cap Era
Secondly, there is the almighty dollar. The Blue Jackets are a team in salary-cap jail due to big contracts (some of them really bad), and no-movement clauses. Rychel is a talented player that will be on his entry-level contract through 2017-18. Utilizing skilled players on their ELC is what successful teams do. This is a scenario that the Chicago Blackhawks played out with one Brandon Saad.
There is no Leverage
Finally timing, and the situation that the team is in.
GIF: Jenner collects the puck on his goal to commemorate Kerby Rychel’s first NHL point http://t.co/7f6FLquoMT
— Stephanie (@myregularface) December 2, 2014
As mentioned above, the Blue Jackets finished the first month of the season with only two wins. The firing of Todd Richards, and the subsequent hiring of John Tortorella brought some improvement. But it was not to last. With a few exceptions such as Brandon Dubinsky and Alexander Wennberg, the team has looked lost at times. From Ryan Johansen being benched for “conditioning issues” to Sergei Bobrovsky letting in soft goal, after soft goal. Things are truly a mess.
Is trading for a defender or two going to change that?
This team needs to find it’s own way, and fast, or all will be lost. Making a reactionary trade will not help. It would not make any sense to give up future assets on a team that may be competing for the draft lottery. They need to show some progress to be worthy of a major acquisition.
Not to mention that this is November, and it’s a sellers market. The vast majority of the league is looking for a defenseman, and the price will be way too high for the return. Trading Rychel for a rental would hurt this team for years to come.
Sure they will need to make a move, or a few, before all is said and done. But it has to be right for the direction of the team, and with the right return for the now, and the future.
The Blue Jackets system is full of young talent in Rychel, Sonny Milano, Oliver Bjorkstrand, and others, but trading them should be done with caution. The big club is too talented to be struggling like this, and should not expect to be bailed out at the expense of the team’s future.
Kerby Rychel is going to be a star in the NHL, so be sure that dealing him is the smart thing to do.
Until next time.
Greg is a Pittsburgh Penguins writer for ‘The Hockey Writers’.
He is a Pittsburgh area native who has written for multiple Penguins news and opinion sites. In addition to hockey writing, he is also an experienced YouTube creator.
Greg started with THW in 2015 as a Blue Jackets writer, and spent time as a Fantasy Hockey analyst.