New York Rangers prospect Thomas Spelling has signed with Danish side SønderjyskE for the 2013-14 season.
SønderjyskE Sports Chief Soren Stockfisch spoke to HockeyWorld.dk about the move today:
"No doubt Thomas was a highly sought-after player whom many clubs would have liked in their squad, so we are proud that we succeeded. He is a very exciting player that our fans can look forward to seeing."
Spelling's hometown side and former club Herning compete in the same league as SønderjyskE, so familiarity has perhaps played a part in his decision to return to Denmark after one season in Sweden with SHL side Rögle.
But it is a disappointing development.
As with fellow European prospect Calle Andersson, Spelling's real need for 2013-14 is minutes. Despite success at J20 level for Rögle (49 points in 36 games), Spelling failed to make an impression on their SHL roster last season. After a brief loan spell with Oskarshamn in Allsvenskan, both Rögle and Spelling agreed to terminate his contract as the forward sought ice-time elsewhere.
Obviously it is tough to pick things apart without having all the information to hand, but at face value a move back to Denmark must be seen as a questionable one at this stage of Spelling's development. He will get the minutes he needs at SønderjyskE, but the quality of opposition is not ideal for a 20-year old looking to build on excellent junior numbers.