The Columbus Blue Jackets have found some bad luck with their prospects of late. They lost defenseman Mike Reilly. They lost goaltender Oscar Dansk. Now they may be in jeopardy of losing Peter Quenneville.
Quenneville, a 21 year old forward, has been playing junior hockey with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League. The Wheat Kings were eliminated from advancing to the Memorial Cup by the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL finals.
Now, the Blue Jackets have until just June 1st to sign their prospect. This would make him eligible to be in this year’s NHL draft.
Quenneville, the seventh round pick of the Blue Jackets in 2013, had played college hockey with Quinnipiac before he went to Brandon. This past season he had 75 points in his 72 games played.
Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen expressed to the Columbus Dispatch that he doesn’t know if the team will be able to sign him.
It’s been a rough week for the Jackets, losing Dansk as well to the Swedish Elite League. The former second round pick for Columbus struggled while playing in North America. His goals against average with Springfield was 3.57 and he went 7-7-5. He struggled even worse in the ECHL with the Kalamazoo Wings, where he went 1-8-0 with a goals against average of 3.73 in his eleven games played.
“We wanted to make sure he gets to a place where he can play and get his career back on track,” Kekalainen said to the Dispatch about Dansk. “You can’t have three guys at the AHL level, and we’ve got Anton Forsberg and Joonas Korpisalo playing there next season.
“That’s where his struggles started, and his confidence took a hit. It’s not unusual for a goaltender to have a little bit of a down year. The guys who are strong recuperate and get better. Oscar understands that this is the best thing for him.”
According to the Dispatch, the Blue Jackets have another player to worry about as well. Sean Ambroz, a Minnesota forward, has finished his senior year with the Gophers. He had signed an amateur tryout agreement with the Springfield Falcons at the end of this past season, then their American Hockey League affiliate. They have until August 15th to sign him before he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Right now their top concern is with Quenneville, and they will have to decide if they want to commit to the seventh rounder. If not, they and other teams will have another chance to draft him in June.
More from NHL