“Ex-Maple Leafs prospect criticizes Blue Jackets in a post later removed”

The Columbus Blue Jackets have been at the forefront of NHL news after David Jiricek’s comments, and their former first-round pick, Kerby Rychel, weighed in. Rychel, 29, had his most productive years with the AHL Toronto Marlies as part of the Toronto Maple Leafs organization.

Boy does that ever sound familiar,” the former Maple Leafs prospect wrote about Jiricek’s comments. “Jiricek is an awesome player, way better than I ever was but maybe it’s time to look at the bigger picture instead of the young player.”

Rychel, of course, is referring to comments Jiricek made about his opportunities, with the defenseman stating, “I played good hockey in the NHL. I’m an NHL player right now. That’s my opinion, that I should be in the NHL right now. I see guys from the same draft, like Simon Nemec and Korchinski… they get a chance on the power play,” Jiricek said. They play a ton of minutes in the NHL. Those are different teams, so different situations, but I can compare with them. I just want a chance to play like that.”

After that, it’s entirely possible that Rychel has a point with his commentary. The 29-year-old never played a single NHL game with the Maple Leafs, and played just 43 NHL games in total. 37 of those 43 came with the Blue Jackets across a two-year span.

While neither Rychel nor the Maple Leafs hold any significant weight in this matter, it’s worth noting that several players — former and current — have spoken out against Columbus this year. At this rate, it seems like the former Toronto Marlie will not be the last player to do so. The Blue Jackets were supposed to be ushering in a new era of hockey, but instead, they are flailing in the rebuild stage at the expense of their best prospect.

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