The Québec Remparts dealt away one of their promising young rookies Wednesday afternoon. Nikita Kucherov, the young Russian sniper selected in the 2nd round by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2011 draft, was moved to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in a trade that clears up Québec's import situation.
Officially, the trade was announced by the Remparts as Kucherov going to Rouyn-Noranda for another Russian, Denis Kamaev and Chicoutimi's 2nd round QMJHL draft selection in 2013. The Remparts then dealt Kamaev to the Sherbrooke Phoenix in exchange for a first round choice in the 2014 CHL Import draft, and a 5th round pick in this year's QMJHL draft. Kamaev, a right winger, has 15 points and three goals in 23 games this season.
Struggling to juggle ice-time with the veteran two-way centre Mikhail Grigorenko and the Danish import Nick Sorensen, Kucherov was often on the outside looking in, held out of the lineup by Remparts coach and general manager Patrick Roy. In an interview yesterday with Le Soleil, Kucherov admitted he was frustrated with being announced as a scratch against Bathurst tonight and Sherbrooke on Friday.
"It's not fun not being dressed. I came here to play hockey and it's what I want to do. But I understand the situation and I'm not shocked, I wouldn't want this decision placed on Patrick Roy or anybody." [LaPresse - translation mine]
Kucherov is a 93-birthdate and has played just six times this season, although he has earned three goals and 10 points in each of those games. Unlike most elite players in the QMJHL, however, he only recorded two shots a game. By comparison, Sorenson has taken 62 shots in 17 games, or 3.65 attempts.
Roy admitted that he was going to have to move one of his European players, but probably deduced that Grigorenko was too important to the team (though there's a chance he could lose him when NHL season starts up) and Sorensen had been clicking on a line with Adam Erne and Logan Shaw. As for Kucherov, he'll go to a team with a clearer import picture.
The surprising Huskies are 14-8-0-1 this season, and they'll get to add another strong import to their team. Kucherov should provide a scoring upgrade over Kamaev, while Sven Andrighetto, a 93-born Swiss forward, has 36 points in 21 games and 15 goals. Kamaev had been able to get into every Huskies game this season. All sides appear to be satisfied as a result of this arrangement, and this could turn the Huskies from a good team into a contender. With two 19-year old imports, they could make a few more moves closer to the trade deadline to load up on 93s to give themselves a better shot this year.