It was announced today that Blue Jackets 2013 7th round pick Peter Quenneville would be leaving Quinnipiac University to play with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League.
The Wheat Kings had to trade a 3rd round pick to the Prince George Cougars (who also own the rights to Jackets European prospects Marko Dano and Joonas Korpisalo) to acquire Peter’s rights. Why Peter chose Brandon is probably because his younger brother John is the Kings’ second leading scorer and he has another brother who is also expected to join the Kings next season.
Peter will help a young Wheat Kings forward corps as he will be only the second 19 year old up front. It appears that this is a move to possibly accelerate Peter’s route to the pros (not that I’m saying the CBJ had anything to do with this).
Peter was passed over in last year’s NHL draft but after a very successful season last year in the USHL the Jackets selected him. Peter will play this season and next season in Brandon before the Jackets must make a decision on signing him. Here’s Brandon coach Kelly McCrimmon thoughts on Peter joining the team.
“He was drafted by Columbus, and I think he just wanted to be in an environment where there was a real focus on development and an opportunity to try and improve as much as he can as a player,” said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on Tuesday, ” His goal was to sign with Columbus either at the end of this year or at the end of his 20-year old year. That combined with the fact that John plays here were really the motivating forces for him.”
“He’s a guy that is real good on the power-play, he’s a right shot, he’s got the ability to really create offence. He’ll be a guy that fits in really nicely on our team given that we’ve only got one other 19-year old forward,” said McCrimmon. “We’ll see where he fits in and what exactly his role is as time goes on. I think he’s going to be a guy that is going to make a contribution night in and night out. He’s 19-years old but he’s a first-year player, there’ll be an adjustment just like any player coming to the league new but I think he’ll pick that up pretty quickly and be a guy that makes a difference for our team.”
Quenneville had only played in five of the Bobcats nine games missing the last four in which I though was due to an injury but it’s probably due to this. Playing in juniors will give Peter more of the pro lifestyle playing the WHL’s 72 game schedule as opposed to the probably 30-some and normally two games a week of the NCAA. The move obviously shocked Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold:
“We wish Peter all the best as he moves on,” Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said in a statement. “Peter wants to focus only on hockey and at Quinnipiac University, our student-athletes are committed to excellence in both hockey and academics. We were surprised by his decision to leave.”
Peter is expected to arrive in Brandon tomorrow making his debut in the Wheat Kings next game against Saskatoon on Thursday.