Alexandre Grenier returns to North America

Patrick Johnston
January 06 2013 01:38PM

 
Alex Grenier stay in Austria was short and sweet; not unlike Salzburg's team sponsor.

The energy drink seems to have run out. Alexandre Grenier's sojourn in Austria lasted half a season, as, surprisingly, the young forward's contract was terminated by mutual consent last month. 

As first reported in North America by The Canuck Way and earlier in the Austrian media, Grenier will soon make his North American pro debut. Although he's currently listed on the Wolves' roster, him making a further move to Kalamazoo seems possible.

Salzburg's signing of ex-Canuck Mike Duco made space in the lineup for a young import like Grenier hard to find, so a move back to North America makes sense. He'll bring with him an understanding of what it takes to be a professional. In 25 games, he tallied 5 goals and 8 assists.

The young Quebecer came out of nowhere two years ago and was drafted by the Canucks in the 2011 draft. Despite graduating out of the QMJHL's Halifax Mooseheads, the Canucks chose not to sign him right away, instead letting him seek his fortune in Austria, apparently for a dose of added seasoning. Allowing players extra development time is a classic M.O. for Team Gillis/Gilman; the expectation has been that after a full season with Salzburg, the Canucks would have another go at signing the 6'5" winger. The team does control his rights until the end of this season.

That timetable would seem to have been moved up some. Instead he'll get a good dose of AHL or ECHL exposure. The Canucks will have as good as a sense as possible of how he might handle the pro game in North America.

If it all pans out, look for him to develop into a very skilled and physical top-six winger (another one?).

In August, we rated him as the Canucks' 15th-best prospect.

The Wolves confirmed his signing after the 4-3 SO loss to Grand Rapids on Saturday.

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Patrick Johnston is a Vancouver journalist. In addition to regular contributions here at Canucks Army, his work has appeared in The Province, Hockey Now and on the CBC. Check out his blog and other writing at http://johnstonwrites.wordpress.com or follow him on twitter: @risingaction
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