The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired 21-year-old former 1st round draft pick (19th overall) Kerby Rychel from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Scott Harrington and a conditional draft pick. That condition is a 5th round draft pick should the Blue Jackets waive Harrington and see him claimed, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
A move involving Rychel isn’t unexpected. In January it came to light that Rychel had requested a trade, in part because he wasn’t getting the opportunity he hoped he would as a 1st round pick.
The condition was put in simply because Rychel doesn't need waivers for a couple of seasons, Harrington requires them now.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 25, 2016
“I need to have a huge summer and get ready,” Rychel told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Post Dispatch. “I’m still young but my window is closing, to an extent. I need to get going.”
He’s grabbed 37 NHL games in his short career, with 32 coming last season. He scored two goals and nine points with a -2.39% adjusted CF%Rel. He has shown an ability to get points on the board in the AHL, but he hasn’t scored goals like when he put up 40 and 41 goals in his two seasons before the 2013 draft.
Despite his need to “get going,” Rychel has a real opportunity in Toronto to carve out a space for himself in the NHL on a team that is looking to cement an identity over the next year.
On the other end of the deal, Harrington will find himself in a situation where there are opportunities for young defensemen to step up and take a role.
“We’re very excited to add a young defenseman with NHL experience in Scott Harrington. He is a former captain of the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights and will be a very good addition to our organization,” said Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen.
Harrington is a 23-year-old defenseman who came to the Leafs as a part of the Phil Kessel trade last summer. He played 15 games with the Leafs last season. In his 25-game NHL career he has no goals, one assist and a 2.36% adjusted CF%Rel.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.