If Tomas Knotek returns to the Halifax Mooseheads next season, he would probably win his third straight team MVP award.
But where the 19-year-old captain from Kladno, Czech Republic, ends up is anybody’s guess at this point.
The Mooseheads, who are permitted to have two Europeans on their roster, could have a pick as high as fourth overall in the Canadian Hockey League import draft in June. And since they’re building for 2011-12, when Knotek will no longer be in the QMJHL, they may have to go in another direction.
Mooseheads general manager Cam Russell is unlikely to part with 17-year-old German blue-liner Konrad Abeltshauser, who already logs 25 minutes a night, and could target a high-end European — a couple of years younger than Knotek — in the import draft.
“I have no idea,” said Knotek, when asked what his future holds. “I know the Mooseheads have a high Euro pick and they will go for the Memorial Cup in two years, and I won’t be a part of that anyway. I’ll have to talk to Cam. We’ll see.”
The six-foot-one, 172-pound centre leads the Mooseheads in scoring with 53 points in 57 games and sits 11th on the franchise’s all-time scoring list with 168 points in 178 games.
He’s the team’s best player and also one of its hardest workers, setting a good example for his younger teammates.
“I was happy to lead those young guys,” Knotek said. “I was trying my best.”
Although he hasn’t been drafted, he has earned tryouts with the Minnesota Wild the past two seasons and is hoping to earn another look from an NHL team.
Knotek said “it’s a hard question to answer right now” on whether he’d play for another team in the QMJHL next season but said he’d “rather play pro.”
The only thing he seemed sure about was not returning to the Czech Republic.
“I don’t want to go home, that’s for sure,” he said.
“I don’t think the hockey’s good enough there and I really like it here (in North America). If I (get) a chance with (an) NHL team, I’ll obviously fight for it. But that’s ahead and we’ll see.”