Kerby Rychel is off to another organization, this time traded from the Montreal Canadiens to the Calgary Flames in exchange for Hunter Shinkaruk. Interestingly, both players were unsigned restricted free agents and needed new contracts for the season. The Canadiens wasted no time getting Shinkaruk signed, inking him to a one-year two-way contract worth $650K at the NHL level. The Flames followed suit soon after by signing Rychel to a one-year two-way deal worth $725K. Rychel is now on his fourth NHL organization, after being traded by the Columbus Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs previously.
It’s been a tough road for Rychel since he was selected 19th overall in the 2013 draft. After the draft he returned to captain his Windsor Spitfires in the OHL only to be traded by his father, GM and former NHL player Warren Rychel, during the season to the Guelph Storm. Guelph would ultimately win an OHL Championship with the power winger in the fold, as Rychel lead the way with 32 points in 20 playoff games. After that final season in junior he would join the Springfield Falcons of the AHL for the 2014-15 season where he would find some success, and even make his NHL debut with the Blue Jackets just after his 20th birthday.
After 32 more games with the Blue Jackets in the 2015-16 season he was traded to the Maple Leafs in exchange for Scott Harrington, a talented prospect in his own right who hadn’t been able to find full-time NHL work. Rychel never did suit up for the Maple Leafs, instead playing parts of two seasons with the Toronto Marlies but missing out on their Calder Cup-winning performance after being shipped off to Montreal at the deadline.
Shinkaruk has a similar story, after being selected just five spots after Rychel in 2003 by the Vancouver Canucks. The winger would only play a single game for the Canucks before being shipped to Calgary in exchange for Markus Granlund, and he hasn’t found much success in the Flames organization either. Though Shinkaruk is a fine minor league player, he has just 15 NHL games under his belt and has barely shown any reason to think he’ll become an NHL regular going forward. That next step is certainly possible for both players, but this could easily be a swap of minor league talent when all is said and done.
Rychel and Shinkaruk will both require waivers to be assigned to the minor leagues this season, a process they already went through last year.