October 12, 2012
Picture being Nick Sorensen, the Danish right wing on the Quebec Remparts who knows not only are scouts watching him during his NHL draft year, but that fans in enemy rinks are wondering if he'll be one of theirs imminently.
With Patrick Roy as coach and GM, the well-heeled Remparts operate on a different plane than everyone else in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Now the situation of their own making that Roy created when he nabbed talented Tampa Bay Lightning second-rounder Nikita Kucherov in this summer's to team up with Russian star Mikhail Grigorenko is coming to a head. With the NHL lockout that's kept Grigorenko from auditioning for the Buffalo Sabres serving as but one moving part, Kucherov is near a return from a shoulder injury, which means Sorensen will be jettisoned since a team can only dress two import players. The fascinating part is that Roy and the CHL's No. 1-ranked Remparts hold all the cards in a game where another eam will be strengthened by adding Sorensen.
It would seem like any team which is a threat to vie for the President's Cup need not apply. Sorensen, whose first North American season was scuppered by a knee-on-knee hit, is an impact player. The graceful 6-foot-1 wing has 10 points and eight games and is a (conservative estimate) lock to be a top-60 pick in next summer's NHL draft. He is probably better than some teams' most valuable import, yet in Quebec, he is the odd one out.
Chalk that up to the unique circumstances spawned by the NHL's permanent labour-management war. So, where to? Drummondville and Rouyn-Noranda are rumoured destinations, although the Huskies (6-2-0-0, fifth overall in the QMJHL) might be too close to the top to be a good trading partner. After all, this is a league which has had a team which finished lower than fourth in the regular season reach the final for three consecutive seasons; would Roy want to see his former import deep into the playoffs? Another scenario that has been floated is to move Sorensen to a team which is definitely building for next season. In any event, there's some drama ahead for the Dane.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.