2009-10: Kerby Rychel played for the Belle Tire U18 team in Michigan. In 55 games he scored 30 goals with 19 assists and had 58 penalty minutes. Belle Tire reached the USA Hockey national tournament – advancing to the quarterfinals. Rychel, the son of Windsor GM and former NHL forward Warren Rychel, was drafted by Barrie in the first round (21st overall) of the OHL Priority Selection.
2010-11: Rychel opened his first OHL season with Mississauga St. Michael’s, who had obtained his right from Barrie in a summer trade, before eventually be acquired by Windsor in a trade deadline deal in January. In 30 games with the Majors he scored 2 goals with 6 assists and was plus-5 with 47 penalty minutes. Playing on a veteran Windsor team coming off back-to-back OHL championships, Rychel scored 5 goals with 8 assists and was minus-1 with 26 penalty minutes in 32 games. The Spitfires reached the playoff semifinals, falling to Owen Sound. Rychel scored 2 goals with 5 assists and was minus-4 with 14 penalty minutes in 18 playoff games. Rychel won a gold medal playing for Canada Ontario at the 2011 U17 World Hockey Challenge. In five games he scored 2 goals with 2 assists.
2011-12: Rychel was the leading scorer for Windsor in his first full season with the Spitfires and played for Canada in the 2012 U18 World Junior Championship. In 68 games he scored 41 goals with 33 assists and was plus-3 with 54 penalty minutes. Windsor, after losing several veterans, slipped to fourth in West Division and lost in the first round of the playoffs. Rychel scored 2 goals and was minus-3 in the four-game series with Memorial Cup-bound London. Rychel scored 5 goals with 3 assists in seven games as Canada won a bronze medal at the 2012 U18 WJC.
2012-13: Rychel again led the Spitfires in scoring, finishing with 40 goals and 47 assists in 68 games, in an otherwise disappointing season. Windsor missed the OHL playoffs for just the second time in coach Bob Boughner’s tenure. Rychel finished with a minus-21 plus/minus and his 94 penalty minutes were second-most for the Spitfires. He was ranked 17th amongst North American skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings and was selected by the Blue Jackets in the first round (19th overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft.
2013-14: Rychel had a roller coaster season as a 19-year-old. Returning to Windsor after attending training camp with the Blue Jackets, he represented the OHL in the Subway Series against Russia and played for Canada in the 2014 U20 World Juniors. With Windsor in rebuilding mode, he was traded by his father, Spitfires GM Warren Rychel, to Guelph in January and finished the year competing in the Memorial Cup with the Storm. Rychel scored 16 goals with 23 assists and was plus-13 with 15 penalty minutes in 27 games for Windsor and scored 18 goals with 33 assists, finishing plus-28 with 28 penalty minutes, in 31 regular season games for Guelph. The Storm finished first in the Midwest Division and rolled through the playoffs, defeating North Bay in the OHL Finals. Rychel scored 11 goals with 21 assists and was plus-20 with 23 penalty minutes in 20 playoff games. He scored 3 goals with 4 assists and was plus-2 in four Memorial Cup games. The Storm won its first three games before falling to Edmonton, 6-3, in the championship game. Rychel was scoreless and minus-3 in seven games as Canada finished fourth at the WJC, falling to Russia in the bronze medal game. He signed a three-year entry-level contract with Columbus in December 2013.
2014-15: Rychel made his NHL debut with Columbus as a 20-year-old in a November 29th game at Nashville, skating in five games with the Blue Jackets before being returned to AHL affiliate Springfield in mid-December. He had 3 assists and was +3 with 2 penalty minutes, averaging 10:41 minutes of ice time with Columbus. He scored 12 goals with 21 assists and was +7 with 43 penalty minutes in 51 regular season games for Springfield. The Falcons finished third in the Northeast Division, one point behind Portland for the final playoff spot.
2015-16: Rychel shuttled between Columbus and new AHL affiliate Lake Erie in his second pro season; skating in 32 games for the Blue Jackets before being returned to Lake Erie at the end of February. He scored 2 goals with 7 assists and was +9 with 15 penalty minutes, averaging 9:31 minutes of ice time with Columbus. Rychel has scored at almost a point-per-game pace with the Monsters, playing in all situations.
Rychel has solid, upper-end quality hands and has come a long way since first being drafted. His skating, once a liability, has improved; allowing him to let his tactical and technical ability show. Consistency was an issue early in his career. While he still has defensive lapses at times his two-way play is much-improved. Like his father, former NHLer Warren Rychel, he has a bit of pugnaciousness and plays with an edge.
Rychel appeared in 32 games with Columbus in 2015-16 in his second pro season — splitting the year between the Blue Jackets and their new AHL affiliate Lake Erie. Rychel has shown dynamism when with the main club in a limited role and appears to have the makings of a top line NHL forward. How long it takes him to round out the supplementary parts of his game to match his skill level will determine when he is ready to see a full-time role with the Blue Jackets.