By Eldon MacDonald
Nick Sorensen – “Mr. All-In” – Right Wing – Sweden
Size: 6’1”, 175 lb.
Born: 23-Oct-94 – Farevejle, Denmark
Team: #94, Québec Remparts, QMJHL
2011-12 Stats: 8-5-4-9-(+9)
CHL Import draft: #20 in 2011 (round 1)
16th in QMJHL – NHL Central Scouting Preliminary Rankings
HM – TSN’s Craig Button – Oct-12
“Well, knock me over and call me, Susan”; Kucherov is the Third Man!
I was as surprised as the next guy when I heard the third man turned out to be Nikita Kucherov and not Nick Sorensen. For those of you who have not been following the Remparts, the CHL allows each team to dress only two imports each game and since almost all import players are Europeans, this essentially means each team is allowed to play only two European players per game.
The Quebec Remparts had three Europeans on their roster, Mikhail Grigorenko (1st round draft choice of the Buffalo Sabres in 2012), Nikita Kucherov (2nd round draft choice of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2011), a friend and frequent Russian National team linemate of Grigorenko’s and 2013 NHL Draft eligible, Nick Sorensen. In the November 23rd, 2012 edition of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, Willy Pavlov speculated that the reason Nick was retained instead of Nikita was because Nick refused to relinquish the no-trade clause in his contract (his agent is Claude Lemieux, the former team-mate of Patrick Roy, the Remparts GM and Coach, in Colorado).
While this is likely true, I suspect that Patrick didn’t try too hard either as he probably came to the same conclusion as I did concerning who should be retained on the Remparts roster; the fact that the Remparts would be better off with Nick as part of the team rather than Nikita. This conclusion should not be interpreted as a slight on Kucherov as Sorenson has another season to play for the Remparts and Kucherov does not. Also, the dynamic duo of Grigorenko and Kucherov playing together probably had a very short shelf-life anyways as it widely expected that Mikhail Grigorenko will move on to the NHL as soon as the lockout is over.
What happened to Kucherov? He was traded to Rouyn-Noranda for Denis Kamaev and a 2013 2nd rounder. Kamaev was then traded to Sherbrooke for a 1st round choice in the 2014 import draft and a 5th rounder in the 2013 QMJHL draft. Here is Sorensen’s bon voyage tweet to Kucherov and Kucherov’s reply:
— Nick Sorensen (@NickSorensen94) November 22, 2012
So who is this guy, Nick Sorensen, who refused to become the third man. Well, he is this Danish kid; no Swedish kid; wait a minute, this is starting to get a little bit confusing. OK, his father is Danish, his mother is Swedish and he has dual citizenship – Denmark and Sweden. He was born in Denmark, played some hockey for Denmark but now has committed to play for Sweden.
So for hockey, he is Swedish and since this is a hockey story he should be considered as a Swedish hockey player. Well, anybody prepared to take on Patrick Roy can’t be a pushover. And Nick Sorensen is certainly no pushover. He is a hockey player who is “all-in” to play in the NHL.
To prove that he is all-in, he came over to North America the year before his year of NHL Draft eligibility to get acclimatized to the North American ice surfaces and way of living. However, to make sure the transition would turn out successfully and be as painless as possible, he brought over his dad. And this year he doubled-down and brought over his mom – oh, those home-cooked Swedish meals. Like I said, this kid is all-in.
Last year was pretty much a write-off as Nick lost his season after just eight games, the result of a vicious hit from Jonathan Lessard who was then suspended for fifteen games. Despite limited action, Nick showed tremendous promise and had nine points and a plus minus in excess of +1 per game. Watch the highlights from his first season in the Q.
This year Nick continued where he left off last year. After 22 games, he has 24 points and a plus minus of +14. See one of his latest goals versus Acadie-Bathurst on November 21, 2012 courtesy of Jerome Berube and Hockey.Prospect.com.
Nick did miss a few games playing musical chairs (when Kucherov returned from injury, one of Nick, Kucherov or Grigorenko had to sit out each game). Now that this issue of the third man has been resolved, Nick will play every game and be able to focus just on the game as opposed to off-ice issues.
Nick Sorensen, The Hockey Player
Nick is listed at 6’1, 175 lb. but looks bigger on the ice. He certainly doesn’t play like a player that is only 175 lb. However, see him with his equipment off and then you see the 175 lb. is close to being correct as he has quite a slender physique. Nick is a skill player with a good defense and works well his line mates. In short, he is a player that every team would want. Here is a run-down of his skills:
- Skating – If you watched the videos above, you will note his nice long stride and his ability to get to the net quickly. Skating is a major asset for Nick – not just the speed but the agility.
- Shooting – This kid can score, plain and simple – very quick release, accurate shot.
- Passing – Can take or give a pass with the best. This kid is not a one-trick pony but one who is equally adept in the playmaker or scorer roles.
- Trenches – Nick gets a lot of his goals in close to the net as he is not afraid to drive to the net in traffic. After he adds a little more weight, this part of his game, while good now, is only going to get a lot better.
- Defense – Nick is a team player who plays a good defense. His plus minus figures for the last two years certainly back this up – +9 in 8 games in 11-12 and +11 in 22 games in 12-13.
- Drive – As I have said before, Nick is all-in for this get a NHL gig. He has endured quite a bit already with on ice injuries and off ice issues. You may be wondering how he did since the Kucherov trade, 2g 1a +2 in the first game since the trade and hopefully a sign of good things to come.
My belief is that we have only seen a glimpse of how good Nick Sorensen can be. With the third man situation over, the best is yet to come for Nick Sorensen.
The Road to the 2013 NHL Draft
NHL Central Scouting has Nick ranked as the No. 16th best player from the QMJHL in their preliminary rankings. While this year has seen the NHL Central Scouting do probably their best job ever in terms of preliminary rankings, there are always likely to be a few rankings where they miss the mark. I certainly believe this is the case with Nick Sorensen.
I certainly would put him 9th or 10th in the Q at the moment which would likely put him in the 30-45 range in the overall scheme of things. However, the key phrase is “at the moment” because Nick certainly has the talent to push into the 1st round. If Nick can elevate his game just a little, and I believe he will, you will start to hear a lot more buzz about this guy and those whispers are likely to be all-in the 1st round.