Would there be a lock-out in the NHL this year, the CHL imports that happen to be NHL 1st rounders (I'm not sure if it only concerns the 2012 draftees) wouldn't count as Imports for any CHL team. Which means a team could have 3 imports on their players list.
There's a point to note though, teams couldn't ice more than 2 imports(the NHL 1st rounders counting as an import as usual)in a game.
It's not clear?
Let's look at the Québec Remparts situation.
Grigorenko, as per Patrick Roy, is expected to play the allowed 9 game NHL-trial for the Sabres at the beginning of the NHL season. You might be aware that the NHL CBA between the NHLPA and the league has yet to be signed, so we're still unsure when the season will start.
So let's say the season starts 1 month late in November. Grigorenko would be available to play for the Remparts in the preseason and in the first two months of the year, the QMJHL starting in mid/late September.
I hear you now, "Yes but what about the other two Imports Sorensen and Kucherov?"
Well Kucherov had a shoulder surgery after his last season, and is not expected to be back before, you guessed it, November!
So the Remparts could start the year with the european duo of Sorensen and Grigorenko, then have Grigorenko leave for the Sabres camp, to get Kucherov back in November and ride the year with Sorensen and Nikita , not bad eh?
The only thing that could stop this perfect situation for Roy would be that either Grigorenko doesn't make the Sabres after his 9 game stint, or that the NHL lockout lasts longer than expected.
For the Roy detractors, this is yet another opportunity to criticize the CHL to do everything that pleases the Remparts' benchboss, Co-owner and GM. You can't deny that the situation seems to fall perfectly in place for the Remparts. But I wouldn't go as far as that.
Now what if Grigorenko doesn't make the Sabres?
Patrick Roy would have a nice problem in his hands, and I think that the odd man out would be the Swede Sorensen, as Kucherov and Grigorenko have been linemates in the CSKA system for a few years and display crazy chemistry.
Every team in the 'Q would line up to have the chance to ice a great player like Sorensen, but who could really afford it? And even if a team can afford his services and trade for him, where would Nick accept to play? Patrick Roy certainly weighted in Sorensen's decision to play for Québec, but as in every other business, money talks. I doubt Sorensen came in Québec for Roy's eyes.
A quick look at the teams lineup and available imports spot, and you can almost eliminate all the teams.
The 3 teams that stood out to me who could welcome, and have enough assets to get Sorensen are the Sherbrooke Phoenix, the Chicoutimi Saguenéens and the Rimouski Océanic.
Sherbrooke being a new team still have a plethora of draft picks to share, and only their Ukraino-Russian Import Vladislav Lysenko was confirmed as a roster player. The situation of Tomas Torok is still unclear. The ownership in Sherbrooke has plenty of money to spend on imports, and the city has bilingual institutions in both CÉGEP and University. The team is brand new though and is not very known, outside of the 'Q. Could Jocelyn Thibault,as an ex NHLer, make him report? Another flaw in Sherbrooke's case, they won't be a contender, as much as I'd like them to be.
Chicoutimi's Evgeny Chakhotkin is the only import expected to report in Saguenay, but would Roy accept to trade a future NHL 1st rounder to their biggest rivals against who they will play more often than Sherbrooke? We're not talking about a 3rd liner here. Sorensen will completely change the face of the team he will play for.
I think that the most logical place where the swede could end up is in Rimouski. The owner of the Océanic is Maurice Tanguay, brother of Jacques Tanguay, who is co-owner of the Remparts. While the Océanic is a divisional rival of Québec, they could potentially have more to offer than both Sherbrooke and Chicoutimi. Rimouski is loaded in talent, and I think they will surprise this year.
Rimouski, with Sorensen added, would be legitimate contenders for the President Cup, with the Remparts, the MooseHeads, the Armada and the Wildcats.
Thank you for reading, I'll be back later this week with my Top10 prospects for the Habs.
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