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The festivities surrounding the OHL Priority Selection began Friday at 1:00pm when Alex Galchenyuk was celebrated as the top pick of the Sarnia Sting. But now that it is all over, many people are talking about the 21st overall selection....
That is where the Barrie Colts selected Kerby Rychel, the son of Windsor Spitfires General Manager Warren Rychel. In previous years, names like Hunter and Foligno have been picked up by organizations run by members of their family. The Rychels had made it known to other OHL teams that they wanted Kerby to play for Windsor. The Spitfires intended to use their second round pick to gain the rights to the forward, who played for Detroit Belle Tire last season.
Depending on who you believe, the plans to have the younger Rychel wear the Windsor red/white/blue may have come undone Friday afternoon when the Spitfires made a trade with the Niagara IceDogs that resulted in moving down in the second round. Rather than having the fourth pick in that round, Windsor ended up with the 17th selection, while gaining a later pick. One insider has referred to that as being "...a little greedy". Part of the handshake agreements on teams being able to select members of their family is that they take the player fairly close to where he would have been chosen anyway, maybe even a little bit earlier.
The Barrie Colts say there were no mis-deeds, that Kerby Rychel was the best player available at that point in the draft. But of course, if there was some gamesmanship going on, is a team going to admit it?
Here is what I think is going on. Windsor wanted to take Rychel with their second round pick, which would have been 25th overall. By many accounts, that would have been fine. Windsor trading down raised some eyebrows. The Barrie Colts decided that Windsor's move, with Barrie division-rival Niagara, changed things. I believe Barrie decided taking Kerby Rychel at the 21st overall spot would be the best thing for their organization at this point in time. When teams are choosing at the end of the first round they may roll the dice a little bit more. Can you say Cam Fowler?
So why did Barrie do this?
First, it creates a distraction among the Windsor Spitfires organization at a time when Barrie was desperately in need of something to help get them back into the OHL Championship Series. It also takes the headlines away from the Colts players at the same time. Remember when Dale Hunter went on about the Peterborough Memorial Centre being a barn and dating back to 1902? That was after the Knights had gone down 2-0 in the OHL Final. The attention was turned to Hunter and away from his players, hoping it would allow them to re-focus on the final. Secondly, the selecting of Kerby Rychel can allow Barrie to turn him into additional assets down the road. Under OHL rules, if Barrie trades the rights to Rychel prior to mid-September, they will receive a compensatory pick at the end of the first round next year. That pick is on top of what they would get back, from Windsor presumably, in a trade. The trade can only involve draft choices coming back. So let's say Barrie takes the 21st overall pick in 2010 (the one they used to pick Kerby Rychel) and turns it into the 21st overall pick in 2011, plus at least one second round pick down the road, and whatever else they can get from Windsor. It could turn out to be a great move. This happens in other rounds where a team might move a second round pick in one year for a second the following year, while also gaining something else. Look no further than a trade between Ottawa and Sault Ste. Marie earlier in the week.
To Sault Ste. Marie
2nd round pick in 2010
7th round pick in 2010
2nd round pick in 2011
4th round pick in 2011
In exchange for waiting a year on that second round pick, the 67's get to turn a seventh round choice into a fourth rounder.
The Colts ruffled some feathers in this, they knew that. They have shown in recent years they are not concerned about making friends, they are only looking out for what is best for them. They were not worried about upsetting the Windsor Spitfires in the midst of battling them for the OHL Championship. But remember this is also a Barrie team that traded away a lot to load up this season, including plenty of draft choices. I see this as a no-lose situation for them. Worst case scenario, Kerby Rychel plays for the Barrie Colts, just as Brock Beukeboom plays for Sault Ste. Marie while his father has been an assistant coach for Barrie and Sudbury. Best case scenario for everyone involved, Kerby Rychel's rights are traded to Windsor for at least a second round pick. Barrie then adds a first round compensation pick to the mix, and Kerby Rychel suits up for the Windsor Spitfires.
Something similar happened at the import draft last year. Kitchener was planning to take Gabriel Landeskog, Plymouth picked ahead of Kitchener. They took Landeskog and traded him to Kitchener for the rights to Tomas Tatar plus a second round pick in 2011, a fourth rounder in 2013 and swapped import picks (Plymouth's second for Kitchener's first) with the Rangers in 2010. This is different because it involves family and no doubt leaves a bad taste with some people.
Is someone at fault here? I don't believe so. Windsor took a risk when they traded down, and now it will cost them in future draft choices if they want Kerby Rychel in Windsor. Teams take risks all the time, some pay off like selecting Cam Fowler, others do not. Barrie decided to pounce on an opportunity other teams may not have - knowing they would not make any friends in the process. But the OHL is a competitive business and some teams will put getting ahead in front of anything else.
Don't be surprised to see this situation get resolved over the summer, with not a whole lot said publicly by either side.
Combine this with the Barrie/Kitchener situation at the trade deadline involving Mavric Parks...where can I get a ringside seat at the summer meetings?
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