Interim head coach Ron Rolston wants the Buffalo Sabres first round draft pick Mikhail Grigorenko to earn his NHL ice time.
Against the New Jersey Devils he played a total of nine shifts, with only two of those appearances coming in the third period. His nine shifts amounted for 6:36 seconds of ice time. Despite playing a limited role for the Buffalo Sabres, he ended the night a plus one, and earned himself an assist, bringing his rookie totals to one goal and three assists, and a combined minus three through 18 games.
Drafted 12th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the off season for his gifted offensive talent, after a five game tryout in the NHL it was decided that the young Russian product would be best served in the National Hockey League learning his trade among men, rather than dominating the boys in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
So far the only thing he is learning is the Buffalo Sabres is not the organization to develop offensive talent in.
Before he had the chance to finish his first NHL season, hell before the young prospect could really even start his first NHL season – he had to witness his first NHL coaching change. It appears that the culture of the Buffalo Sabres under Ron Rolston – doesn’t include Grigorenko in the plan all that heavily.
Ron Rolston played another one of his cards from Rochester, calling up rookie Brian Flynn from the Rochester Americans to fill out the 23 man roster required to play an NHL game with success. Instead of spotting the rookie with zero NHL experience to spell his regular rookies and NHL players on the Buffalo Sabres full time roster – Flynn served on 13 shifts for the Sabres, and played in a total of eight minutes and fifty seconds.
Is Ron Rolston showing his hand to the management of this organization? He was not in on the selection of Grigorenko and he continues to run this team his way – which is what we wanted right? Despite playing two minutes more of hockey – Flynn was left completely off the score sheet. At 24 years old he is not your average rookie center, signed to a two year contract – Flynn signed with the Buffalo Sabres on a two way entry level contract as an undrafted free agent.
It will be interesting to see how Rolston continues to utilize his rookies center as the season wears on.