Peter Quenneville (Melissa Baecker/Getty Images)
Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Peter Quenneville hasn’t yet signed with the team and could be heading overseas for the 2015-16 season. Quenneville is reportedly looking at signing a deal in Finland’s SM-Liiga. The Blue Jackets will retain Quenneville’s rights until 2017.
One season after captaining the Brandon Wheat Kings to a WHL-best 53-win, 114-point season, Peter Quenneville is looking to take his game across the pond.
Rumors surfaced Monday that Quenneville, 21, was seeking a contract in Finland after his agency, 2112 Hockey, posted that the Edmonton native was under contract in SM-Liiga. While he doesn’t yet have a contract in Finland, it appears that could be the next destination for Quenneville, whose NHL rights are owned by the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“We’ve targeted him to hopefully play (in SM-Liiga),” said Darryl Wolski, Quenneville’s agent. “We’re working with a few teams to get an official offer for him pretty soon.”
Drafted in the seventh round, 195th overall, by the Blue Jackets in 2013, Quenneville hasn’t yet inked a deal with Columbus and Wolski said pursuing a deal overseas is a way for Quenneville to keep as many doors open as possible.
“(Signing with Columbus) is a possibility,” Wolski said. “Here it is, getting to middle of August, so it’s just to keep options open.”
And while Wolski said the AHL could be a potential destination, it seems that Finland is the frontrunner for the now-former Wheat Kings captain. One major reason would be that SM-Liiga offers Quenneville the ability to develop further.
“For people that know European hockey, Finland is the closest league to the NHL,” Wolski said. “The style, the game, the coaching — it’s the closest to NHL in a lot of ways. The way they breakout, the checking — so in our opinion, it’s a really good league, it’s competitive, it pays OK and they like young players. They like graduating CHL players, they like graduating NCAA players.”
This past season, his final in the WHL, Quenneville notched 27 goals and 75 points in 72 games and added another 10 goals and 20 points in 19 post-season outings.
Even though it has been more than two years since he was drafted and he has yet to sign with the Blue Jackets, Quenneville’s rights remain with Columbus. The Blue Jackets will own his rights until June 1, 2017, because Quenneville was drafted out of the USHL and was headed to the NCAA’s Quinnipac University. He played five games with Quinnipac before leaving to join the Wheat Kings in 2013-14.