With the Windsor Spitfires up against it in the playoff chase, their championship years might seem as much like a burden as a bar to clear. Keep in mind, though, those years were critical for in the growth of Kerby Rychel, who is a good bet to be the franchise's first NHL first-round pick since Taylor Hall and Cam Fowler in 2010.
Rychel, as the eldest son of Spitfires general manager and vice-president Warren Rychel, often skated with Windsor players in those years while he was playing minor hockey for the Detroit Belle Tire club. What the younger Rychel absorbed was invaluable.
"It was huge, being around all those great players — Taylor Hall, Ryan Ellis, Zack Kassian," says the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Rychel, an all-around left wing who is NHL Central Scouting's 18th-ranked North American skater. "Just seeing how they prepared for games and how they practised was something you can definitely take and apply to your own game."Read More »from NHL draft tracker: Kerby Rychel, Windsor Spitfires