It was only a week ago that Windsor Spitfires general manager voiced his displeasure over the fact that his top import pick, Jacob de la Rose, would be staying in Sweden.
“I thought it was 99 per cent he was coming,” Rychel told the Windsor Star. “I’m very disappointed in the turn of events.”
The talented Swedish forward still had a year left on his contract with Swedish club Leksand, who have been promoted to the top division in the SHL. At the time, de la Rose had stated he wanted to come to Windsor, but this week he told HockeySverige.se that he's happy to be staying home.
"It wasn't like I was devastated by it (the decision)," de la Rose told the Swedish hockey site. "I just need to keep going in Leksand and I think it will work out just great." [Translation via Uffe Bodin]
The second round pick of the Montreal Canadiens (34th overall in June) was asked by Swedish reporter Ronnie Ronnkvist whether he was disappointed about not being able to play with Windsor.
No, absolutely not. It was never that I wanted to leave Leksand because it would be bad there somehow. Montreal wanted me to go over there because it would be best for me. When they presented it, I thought that maybe it would be best for me to try to go over to try out the game quite easily.
...It is, as I said, never been that I want to leave Leksand ... I think it will be damn good there. [HockeySverige.se via google translate]
Rychel claimed he had been "lied to" by Leksand GM Tommy Salo. The Spits GM said that he had been told de la Rose would be given his release even though the 18-year-old was still under contract.
“Tommy Salo hung three parties out to dry,” Rychel said. “The kid and his family, the Montreal Canadiens and the Windsor Spitfires.
“The kid wanted to play here and he would have developed here much more.”' [The Windsor Star]
Now that it's clear the centre is staying in Sweden, it would be hard for de la Rose to be disappointed publicly. But de la Rose says he was in contact with Salo regularly and that the GM had been upfront with him about his future.
"There is absolutely no ambiguity there. We have talked to each other for all this time and he has been clear that he wanted to keep me in Leksand," said de la Rose. "He also believes that I will have an important role in the team and that the best for my development is to play in Leksand."
De la Rose added Montreal was concerned he'd have to battle harder for pro minutes in Sweden than he would have in the OHL with Windsor. As for the quality of hockey between the two leagues?
"No, the quality is better here at home in the top division," said de la Rose of playing in the SHL. "But it is about getting the ice time also. Montreal was unsure how much I will get to play."