Never stop looking to improve your team, especially when it’s in the midst of a rebuild and a young, talented player appears to be on the market. No, not Jonathan Drouin – although, also Jonathan Drouin – but Kerby Rychel reportedly requested a trade before this season even started.
And the Flames are one of seven teams who have apparently show interest in trading for the 21-year-old.
Of course Brad Treliving has shown interest – why wouldn’t he?
The Columbus Blue Jackets selected Rychel 19th overall in the 2013 NHL draft, just three picks before the Flames chose Emile Poirier. He’s a 6’1, 213 lb. left winger who has yet to make the Blue Jackets thus far, leading to concern on part of his agent, father, and maybe more: hence, the trade request.
It may not be totally unfounded. Though Rychel only has three assists through 11 games with the Jackets this season – and has six assists through 16 games with them, total – he’s performing in the AHL. So far this season, he has five goals and 18 points through 20 games for the Lake Erie Monsters; last season, his rookie professional year, he scored 33 points over 51 games. He would be one of the best players on the Heat with those numbers.
He also has 43 penalty minutes so far this year, so that easily checks the truculence box. Oh, and the fact he has size: he would be the fourth heaviest player on the Flames should he come to Calgary.
It’s unclear what it would take to get Rychel, especially as Columbus is evidently in no rush to trade him: they’ve been sitting on his trade request for months now without much of a peep, so it’s not likely he’ll be moved for next to nothing. In fact, a few months ago Elliotte Friedman reported Columbus’ asking price was too high. (This was back when the Flames were at their lowest point of the season, before T.J. Brodie returned to the lineup.)
The Jackets have a very young team, and they’re right at the bottom of the NHL standings. If it’s picks and prospects they’re after, those would be something Calgary would likely be loathe to part with, considering how they need picks and prospects, too. A change-of-scenery swap could work, but there isn’t really anybody in the Calgary system who requires that.
Defensive prospects do seem to be an area of strength for the Flames nowadays, though, so if that’s what the Jackets still reportedly want, there may be something to work out there. I’d suspect Rasmus Andersson and Oliver Kylington would be on the top of any request list, which would be a high price to pay, as both players have tremendous upside, and a desire to keep them could hold up any trade.
What do you think Columbus would want from Calgary – and would it be worth Rychel?