If Tomas Knotek has played his last game with the Halifax Mooseheads, it’s going to take a juicy trade offer that general manager Cam Russell can’t refuse. It’s also going to require the 19-year-old captain’s stamp of approval.
Knotek, the most sought-after player on the Mooseheads’ roster with the final QMJHL trade period set to open Saturday, has left to join the Czech Republic for the world junior championship and won’t be back until early January.
Russell is likely to field plenty of trade offers before then.
“We’ll sit down and talk to Tomas about the possibilities,” Russell said. “At the end of the day, if a trade does come, it’s a trade that has to make sense for him and the organization.
“You’re giving up your captain and he’s such a big part of your team, it would be a very difficult move.”
Knotek leads the Mooseheads in scoring with 32 points in 34 games and would be a welcome addition to a contending team looking to upgrade a European spot. Gerrad Grant, another 19-year-old who can produce offensively, would also be an upgrade to teams looking for a quality forward.
Other veterans who could draw interest are Pascal Amyot, Charles Bety, Paul Dimitruk and Linden Bahm.
The Mooseheads are looking to acquire as many picks as possible in the next two drafts and started that process long ago with trades of 19-year-olds Gabriel O’Connor and Alexis Piette, and over-agers Yuri Cheremetiev and Alexandre Brunet.
But Russell doesn’t want to go too far in what will be his first holiday trading period as GM.
“You have to be careful not to get too young and send the wrong message to the players,” Russell said. “You want to be competitive and you need that good leadership. You have to make sure you have a good mix of veterans and rookies.”