The Edmonton Rush could get their most coveted commodity sooner rather than later.
Or they may be left resembling a kid salivating for the best stuff in a candy store from the wrong side of the glass.
Ben Prepchuk is the guy the Rush want and the Sherwood Park product wants to play for his hometown team. The problem is that the Colorado Mammoth don't want to part with Prepchuk. Or do they?
"I have talked to Steve Govett (Colorado's president and GM) and he gave me a 100% guarantee that he would get me to Edmonton at some point," said Prepchuk. "We're good friends off the floor and he guaranteed me that he'd get me here, so I think there's a good possibility of it happening. It's something I'm keeping in the back of my mind."
Prepchuk is certainly the type of guy the Rush could use. Although he's been limited somewhat this season in a balanced Mammoth scoring approach, the 26-year-old put up 179 points in 56 regular-season NLL games coming into the 2006 campaign. The third overall pick in the 2000 draft, Prepchuk had his best season in 2002 with the Calgary Roughnecks, when he notched 78 points, including 40 goals.
Prepchuk has made no secret of his desire to play in Edmonton. After sitting out last season, the right-handed forward went back to the Mammoth this year under new head coach Gary Gait, but still wants to suit up at home.
Trouble is, the Rush can't get a deal done with the Mammoth despite the guarantee. Prepchuk said he thought a trade was in the works again when the Rush wound up acquiring Mat Giles from Toronto.
"We were close (to a deal) in the summer," said Rush GM/head coach Paul Day, who has until the March 14 trade deadline to make a deal.
"Steve wants a first-rounder in the 2006 draft and that's quite a bit. We'd love to have Ben but he didn't play last year, and depending what happens over the next nine games, it could be a very high pick. One day, Steve asks for that and the next he asks for that and a player."
Govett didn't deny he'd made a "promise" to Prepchuk, but feels he hasn't heard a worthwhile offer from the Rush.
"I have a lot of respect for Ben and I want to do the right thing in getting him to Edmonton, but I'm not going to give him up for nothing," said Govett. "All I want is fair market value for Ben."
Until a trade is made - if ever - Prepchuk will remain loyal to the Mammoth which means facing the team he wants to play for tomorrow night when the Rush visit Denver.
"Playing in Colorado has been a great experience," said Prepchuk. "I feel it is the best organization in the league. We're selling out all the time and it's a great team with great guys.
"It's been a tough situation.
"It's been frustrating. For now, I'm still part of the Mammoth and I've got a job of trying to help Colorado win, so it'll be kind of bittersweet to beat Edmonton. I guess I'll just have to go out and show them what they're missing."