But that’s what happened in MacGregor Sharp’s case. After playing 50 games with the Syracuse Crunch, the Anaheim Ducks farm club, his cell phone buzzed before the NHL trade deadline to inform him that he’d been traded to the Vancouver Canucks.
Thennn….. a few days later, Sharp fielded another call that he’d been "loaned" to the Abbotsford Heat for defenceman Keith Seabrook.
"I joined (Manitoba) on the road in Peoria, practised for a day there, then before I even played a game, I got the call that I’d been loaned to Abbotsford," said Sharp, a good ol’ Alberta boy from Red Deer. "I’ve only just got settled in now. The Moose needed a ‘D’ man and were pretty deep at forward.
"I’m still Vancouver property … at the end of the year, I’ll still be a restricted free agent. It works pretty well for me here."
And with Abbotsford suddenly short a forward — welcome back to Calgary, Ales Kotalik —- the six-foot-one, 180-pound pivot is a good candidate to throw into the team’s rotation.
"Fresh start, for me," he said. "It’s a good chance for another team to give me a look. They haven’t told me a ton. The biggest thing is just working hard every day.
"It’s playoff hockey for us, right now. Everybody’s really focused and working towards playoffs."
Quick specs on him: he’s 25-years-old, a product of the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Camrose Kodiaks and spent four years at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. In his last season of NCAA hockey, he racked up 26 goals and 50 points in 43 games. Since then, he’s been bouncing around in the Ducks’ system mostly, having made eight NHL appearances last season and after that, he split the year with the San Antonio Rampage (AHL) and the Bakersfield Condors (ECHL).
It’s an interesting story, to say the least; one that involved a lot of dues being paid.
But for Sharp, it’s all part of the territory.
"Oh yeah, it’s part of the business," Sharp said. "You’ve just gotta deal with it and make the best out of every situation you have. It’s pretty good for me, I’m getting good ice time.
"It’s tough getting bounced around but you’ve just gotta try to make the best of it."
Fun fact: when Sharp was looking for roomies in Abbotsford, he was able to hook up with his college roommate and Minnesota native Josh Meyers and move into a house with him, Carter Bancks, and ECHL call-up Ryan MacMurchy who was signed to a professional tryout last month.
As for his on-ice life, in five games with the Heat, he has yet to record a point. In fact, he hasn’t scored since Feb. 19.
So … that begs the question: will Sharp be a potential full-time NHL-er? Like most, his skating could improve. More strength, too, would be a plus. But as for being an everyday pro? Time will tell what he does with this opportunity — with Abbotsford and in the Canucks’ organization. And, keep in mind, not every player takes the easy way up the ladder.