COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed left wing Kerby Rychel of the Ontario Hockey League’s Guelph Storm to a three-year entry level contract, club General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today. Rychel was the club’s second of three first round picks in the 2013 NHL Draft, selected 19th overall.
“Kerby is a hard-nosed player who is very competitive and possesses a mixture of skill, the ability to score goals and grit,” said Kekalainen. “We believe he will be an important part of our organization for years to come as he continues to grow and develop as a player.”
Rychel, 19, has tallied 17 goals and 28 assists for 45 points with 17 penalty minutes and a +16 plus/minus rating to go along with five power play and four game-winning goals in 30 games with Windsor and Guelph this season. He has picked up 1-5-6, 2 penalty minutes and a +3 plus/minus rating in three games since joining the Storm, which currently boasts the second-best record in the OHL at 26-7-2-1.
He has appeared in 228 career OHL games, registering 105-112-227, 238 penalty minutes and a +2 plus/minus rating with Guelph, Windsor and Mississauga since 2010. He posted back-to-back 40-goal seasons the past two years with Windsor, racking up 41-33-74 in 68 games in 2011-12 and 40-47-87 in 68 games in 2012-13. His 87 points ranked eighth in the OHL last season. Rychel is currently playing for Team Canada at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships in Sweden. He has also represented Canada at the 2012 IIHF World Under-18 Championships (bronze medal) as well as the 2011 Under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament (gold).
The Blue Jackets return to action tonight when they visit the Colorado Avalanche. Game time from Pepsi Center is 8 p.m. ET. Live coverage on FOX Sports Ohio HD begins with the Blue Jackets Live pre-game show starting at 6:30 p.m. The game will also be broadcast live on the Blue Jackets Radio Network, including flagship station Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan in Columbus, and online at BlueJackets.com.