That Patrick Roy — at risk of losing his Russian meal ticket to the NHL, he just goes out and adds another scorer.
Tampa Bay Lightning second-round choice Nikita Kucherov, who was one of the leading scorers for silver-medallist Russia at the world junior tournament in January, appears destined to play his last junior season with Roy's Remparts, who didn't even have to trade up to land his QMJHL rights. Kucherov, as an exceptionally skilled 19-year-old who had first-round talent in 2011 before questions about his work ethic caused him to drop to Tampa in the middle of the second, would be very advanced for the QMJHL. He also gives Quebec, which is gunning for a President's Cup, either a playmate for Buffalo Sabres first-round pick Mikhail Grigorenko or a replacement for him if he ends up in the NHL.
— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) June 27, 2012
Roy told Le Soleil prior to Wednesday's import draft that he's not sure where Grigorenko fits in the Sabres' plans for next season. Grigorenko's goal, like any high pick, is to go directly to the NHL at age 18. He didn't kick his game up a notch in the big moments, but there is little denying his ability is close to NHL calibre already. There is also the prospect that if there's a lockout in the NHL, teams might try to get a waiver from the CHL-NHL agreement (the 'big league or junior' rule) and have their bright prospects go to the American Hockey League.
Either way, it's a rich-get-richer deal for the Remparts. Either they have two Russian stars. Seventeen-year-old wing Nick Sorensen, whose season was scuttled by a torn ACL, is also in the mix but might have to be traded.
Kucherov, of course, was far from the only impact pick made Wednesday.
Ivan Barbashev to Moncton Wildcats, No. 1 overall — The 'Cats, coming off two down seasons, added strength down the middle by drafting Russian U17 captain Ivan Barbashev. Picture him as their No. 2 (or 1B) centre behind the line with twins Alex and Allain Saulnier. Moncton also added St. Louis Blues second-rounder Dmitrij Jaskin with a later pick.
From Matthew Wuest:
"He's a good, solid two-way centre who plays both ends of the rink with good leadership and good character," said Wildcats head coach and general manager Danny Flynn. "We're really excited to add that type of player to our lineup."
Flynn said he has a commitment from Barbashev to play in Moncton, although he admitted he won't know for sure "until he sets foot in Moncton."
"We're certainly optimistic he can step in right away and make an immediate contribution," Flynn said. (Metro Halifax)
Martin Reway to Gatineau Olympiques, No. 4 — Early indications are that the 5-foot-9, 165-pound playmaker will join a team which was starved for scoring last season. Gatineau, after cashing out and trading captain Jean-Gabriel Pageau to rebuild, had little individual talent in the second half aside from Los Angeles Kings draftee Tomas Hyka (64 points in 50 games). Reway was more prolific as a 17-year-old in the Czech league than Hyka was at the same age.
Adam Veliky to Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, No. 7 — Another Czech forward headed to a Nova Scotia team. The Halifax Mooseheads' Martin Frk became a Detroit Red Wings second-round pick last week; the 6-foot-3 Veliky could be a good complement to draft-year forward William Carrier. Indications are that Veliky will report to the Eagles.
Jan Kostalek to Rimouski Océanic, , No. 10 — The Océanic add a two-way defenceman to their stable of 17-year-olds by taking a 6-foot, 180-pound Czech.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.