Buzzing The Net - Junior Hockey

QMJHL: Kabanov headed to Memorial Cup host — reportAs episodes of Keeping Up With Kabanov go, this week's is a lulu — involving four organizations, three leagues and a talented 19-year-old apparently landing with the MasterCard Memorial Cup host team.

Was there ever a Färjestads for Kirill Kabanov, or was it a bluff to expedite a trade away from the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada? Reports earlier this week stated the New York Islanders third-round pick was poised to play in the Swedish Elite League after being released from NHL training camp; Aftonbladet reported he was to be given a one-month trial, after which he could have ended up who knows where. Now Steve Turcotte of Le Nouvelliste newspaper is reporting Kabanov is headed to the Memorial Cup-host Shawinigan Cataractes in a trade with Blainville-Boisbriand.

Insatisfait du début de saison de son club, ayant à composer en plus avec la blessure de Michaël Bournival, [Cataractes general manager] Martin Mondou a pris la décision de brasser ses cartes ce matin en faisant l'acquisition de Kirill Kabanov de l'Armada de Blainville-Boisbriand.

... Mondou a offert Nikita Kolesnikovs, un choix au repêchage et une autre valeur à l'Armada pour obtenir ses droits. Un jeune défenseur qui n'évolue pas actuellement dans la LHJMQ passe aussi dans le camp shawiniganais pour finaliser cette transaction, qui était dans l'air depuis quelques jours. L'Armada a d'ailleurs joué avec le feu dans ce dossier puisque Kabanov a bien failli s'envoler pour la Suède il y a quelques heures, mécontent de voir que son dossier en Amérique du Nord ne progressait pas. (Temps d'Arret)

The terms of the trade reveal little about how certain it is when and if Kabanov will report, let alone play well. From the sounds of it, Blainville-Boisbriand GM Joël Bouchard sounded only too happy to make the deal, saying anything Kabanov-related is "complicated."

You think?

«Quand tu dis Kabanov, tu dis "compliqué", a déclaré Joël Bouchard en entrevue téléphonique à TVA Sports. Il ne cadrait pas dans notre philosophie. On est une entité, on traite tout le monde égale. C'est une façon de fonctionner et on y croit, et il ne voulait pas entrer dans le moule. (TVA Sports)

The Cataractes only had to part with one roster player, Latvian defenceman Nikita Kolesnikov, a sixth-round pick and 16-year-old goaltending prospect Storm Phaneuf. The Armada also threw in the rights to a junior named Sébastien Gauthier.

It's a risk, but like the Islanders did when they drafted Kabanov in 2010, Shawinigan is taking a risk by buying low. Martin Mondou has already tried that tack by dealing with the Armada for Montreal Canadiens prospect Louis Leblanc, hoping there was a chance he'd return as an overage while building up a surgically repaired shoulder. That hasn't come to pass.

Will it with Kabanov? It's pending; as Swedish hockey writer Uffe Bodin tweeted, "I don't think that will change anything. From what I hear, he feels he's too good for the Q."

Meantime, the Cataractes have started 8-4-0-1 and expect to be without No. 1 centre Michaël Bournival for about a month, so they need help up front. With the sky-high expectations attached to hosting the tournament, the wolves could be at Mondou and coach Éric Veilleux's door if there isn't reassurance that improvement will come soon.

Kabanov's post-season with the Lewiston Maineiacs (eight goals, 20 points in 15 games for the league semifinalists) offered a glimpse of the impact he has when he's in a good head space. In all honesty, one wonders if the notoriety he's garnered is more a media creation (present company included!). The twists and his turns of his career certainly have ranged beyond the straight and narrow.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports . Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet (photo: Getty Images).

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