NEWARK, NJ -- Kerby Rychel met with the media after the Blue Jackets selected him at 19th overall in the first round of the NHL Draft. The following is a transcription of the media scrum at Prudential Center.
Q: Describe your game.
Kerby Rychel: “I think I’m a two-way power forward and I can play in all situations, but I think I have a good touch around the net as well.”
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Q: What was it like having the opportunity to eventually play for your dad?
KR: “Yeah it’s a good opportunity. He’s taught me a lot. I think I had to really mature I mean at a young age a lot of people expected a lot of things out of me and they’re kind of down on me, but I think it made me really motivated to prove them wrong and work really hard.”
Q: What did you learn in terms of style of play, because a lot of people know you as a two-time leading goal scorer in junior. What else is there to Kerby Rychel?
KR: “A lot of people don’t really know but I had eight or nine fights last year. I think I’m a gritty guy and obviously at the next level there’s not too many pure goal scorers, so I think I’m going to need to kill penalties, work hard, block shots and hopefully score some goals too.”
Q: Is there any one lesson you’re going to take from that time in juniors?
KR: “I think to just be yourself no matter what. No matter what the situation is, just work hard and good things will happen.”
Q: Is it cool going to a team that’s not too far of a drive from Windsor and where your dad is?
KR: “Yeah, it’s awesome. It’s probably around three hours away from Windsor. It’s a young team and they’re turning the corner and there are definitely exciting times ahead for the organization.”
Q: Have you talked to Bob Boughner he obviously spent some time with the organization more so about the city since the organization has changed so much.
KR: “Yeah he loved the city – I’ve only heard good things about the city so it’s definitely an exciting time for me and my family and I’m excited to get down there.”
Q: Your plans for next year - are you in NHL mode?
KR: “Yeah, definitely. I’ve had three years of junior and I’m going into Columbus trying to make the team I mean I know it’s the NHL, it’s a tough league to make, but I’m going to put my best foot forward and really challenge for a spot.”
Q: You had a really good combine. How pleased were you with that and how much did you work to prepare for it?
KR: “Yeah, I think I was definitely really prepared for it. I’ve been working out pretty hard since I was a young kid and I know I’m a pretty strong guy. I knew I was going to do pretty and the rest of the summer I’m just going to try and get stronger and faster and make a push for camp.”
Q: Your dad was a fighter in the NHL. Has he given you any ideas as to how much different that level than maybe what you’re used to?
KR: “My dad obviously as you guys know fought a lot too when he played. He told me bigger and stronger. I definitely don’t think I’m just a fighter. I do have back-to-back 40 goal seasons too, but I think it’s an element that I have in my game and it’s really important.”
When asked about other prospects and the team going into this draft:
KR: “Right, I mean it’s awesome. I mean like I said they’re really turning the corner, and there’s a lot of younger prospects in the system like Johansen, Murray, and Jenner so there are exciting times ahead and I’m really excited to be a part of it.”
Q: How many times did you talk to them?
KR: “I’ve talked to them I think probably at least three or four times.”
Q: This weekend at all?
KR: “Um, yeah I did on Friday.”
Q: Did they give you any indication?
KR: “I think they said they were high on me you know I don’t really think you know where you’re going coming to the draft I mean I knew my range was kind of 15-25 so once it got to 15 I was probably getting a little bit anxious but it’s definitely exciting.”
KR: "Yeah it’s something that I’ve always been working on since I was a little kid, but skating is something that I’ve definitely improved on if you look at where I was my first year and now it’s definitely improved. I know I’m going to have to keep improving on it to get into the NHL."
Q: Who was more nervous, you or Warren?
KR: We were both kind of sweating up there trying to see who was going to take me, but we’re both happy and I’m sure he’s as happy as I am.
On what people said about him that motivated him:
KR: “Well I think people just viewed me differently because of my dad. I still think some fans do that but I think I’m well respected in the game. I mean obviously I just got picked in the first round so I definitely think people think highly of me. It’s something I just use as motivation. I like when people criticize me and I like proving people wrong and you know it’s definitely helped me out a lot.
Q: Do you still have a chip on your shoulder?
KR: Oh yeah definitely. I mean I’m sure some people are thinking I’m not a first round pick, but I’ll prove them wrong again.
Q: What were people saying?
KR: "Just not good enough to play in the OHL I think."
KR: “Maybe a little bit. I think just everything. That I was getting too much ice time and I shouldn’t have been in the league?”
Q: Do the comparisons (to your dad) motivate you?
KR: “Yeah I think obviously (my dad) has taught me a lot. But I’m my own player and I’m my own person so I try to work hard and try to be myself every game."
Q: You said your only memory of your dad playing in Anaheim was the horns would go off and the duck would drop from the ceiling and kind of freak you out. What do you think about the cannon going off in Columbus?
KR: “Oh I didn’t even know that. I don’t think I’ll be scared anymore. I think I grew up a little bit.”
Q: You went through OHL rookie camp and handled the adversity on the way to being drafted. Is it an experience that you can grow on?
KR: “Absolutely, that’s 100% on I mean I grew up as a player but a person too. I learned how to deal with adversity and I matured a lot."
Q: Can you talk about your toughness, you’re one of the tougher guys in the draft, but you also manage to work your way in the crease and get goals that way?"
KR: "Yeah I think obviously I go to the net and I play hard and I finish tracks and block shots and I think that’s tough too and I’m not afraid to drop the gloves as well."