The Sabres coaching staff may have a difficult decision coming up on what to do with Mikhail Grigorenko. He’s been flying under the radar so far in Buffalo since the start of the season and does not have a lot to show for just yet. But one can’t argue against the fact he’s playing sound hockey, and Lindy Ruff likes what he’s seeing out of him so far. His ice time increased in their second game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and he’s been over 50% on face-offs in both games this season, he just has not gotten the chance to light it up on the scoreboard.
I’m going to say this right now, Grigorenko WILL stick around in Buffalo past the five game mark. He’s amongst a good corps of talented young players with the Sabres and I don’t see any reason to take him away from that right now. Grigorenko was once considered the second best prospect in the NHL and he’ll get the chance to prove it in Buffalo. I’m not saying he’s going to be spectacular his rookie year, but clearly the potential exists for him to be something special in this league if he gets time to develop. One thing is for certain that he’s got great size, and with the emphasis on tougher play in Buffalo this year, look for him to develop into a more physical presence on the ice as well as a scorer in front of the net.
You have to give the kid some credit; with a much abbreviated preseason for the NHL this year, he was thrown into the mix very quickly in Buffalo and has looked comfortable and poised through it all. During training camp, he didn’t even have a spot in the locker room and the team was just getting to know him. Grigorenko made the roster for the start of the season and with the lack of any preseason games to showcase his ability, the coaching staff obviously has some confidence in the young rookie.
This is a good challenge for Lindy Ruff. With plenty of talk and criticism surrounding his performance as the Sabres head coach, look for him to show what he can do with a player like Mihkail. I see this as a test for Lindy to see if he’s still got what it takes to hold the head spot in Buffalo. It’s plain and simple; the team needs to improve and all the weapons are there to do so. I’m sick of watching mediocre hockey in Buffalo year after year and with the players being brought in, it’s do or die time for Lindy.
The Buffalo Sabres should take a chance on Mihkail Grigorenko, and with the shortened season they can afford the risk. Look for number 25 to be on the ice for Buffalo past their fifth game of the season against the Leafs.