The IceHogs have agreed to terms with defenseman Jake Ryczek on a one-year contract that runs through the 2019-20 season.
Ryczek, 21, completed his first full season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) last season, notching 33 points (9g, 24a) in 51 games for Halifax during the regular season. The blueliner posted eight multi-point efforts during the campaign, including logging season-high three-point efforts on Dec. 8 vs. Acadie-Bathurst (1g, 2a) and Feb. 15 vs. Gatineau (1g, 2a).
Following the regular season, the Springfield, Massachusetts native helped Halifax reach the championship in the QMJHL playoffs, where the Mooseheads fell in six games to Rouyn-Noranda. Ryczek skated in each of the team’s 23 postseason contests and finished third among all Halifax skaters with 13 helpers during the postseason run. He never went more than two straight games without registering a point in the playoffs and his 13 total points (13a) ranked second among team defensemen during the postseason.
The 5-11, 198-lbs blueliner then led Halifax to the finals of the 2019 Memorial Cup. He collected a goal and an assist over four games during the tournament, netting his goal on the power play in the Mooseheads’ 4-1 win over Prince Albert in the opening game of round-robin play.
Overall, Ryczek has combined for 60 points (16g, 44a) and a +48 plus/minus rating in 84 career regular-season games in the QMJHL with Halifax from 2017-19. He also logged 16 assists in 32 postseason contests after helping the Mooseheads reach the playoffs in each of his two seasons with the team.
Ryczek was originally selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the seventh round (203rd overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft. He skated in five collegiate games with Providence during the 2017-18 season (scored one goal) before making his QMJHL debut with Halifax on Dec. 28, 2017.