If you follow me on twitter or have read some of my latest pieces from this preseason, you know I haven’t been very impressed with the effort of Mikhail Grigorenko throughout the preseason. He’s very much a rookie and needs to be working much harder than he is. On the flip side, I’ve been extremely impressed with the play of Zemgus Girgensons this preseason and he arguably deserves a spot on the Sabres more than Grigorenko at this point.
There is very little room up the middle on the Sabres squad. Between Cody Hodgson, Tyler Ennis, Steve Ott, Mikhail Grigorenko and Johan Larsson, the Sabres have tons of players ahead of Girgensons on the depth chart that can play in the middle. What the Sabres are in need of, especially with injuries to Corey Tropp and Joel Armia, are wingers and that may be Girgensons best shot at cracking the roster.
Throughout the majority of the preseason, Girgensons has been played on the wing and he’s done a fantastic job. Not only is he
generating offence every night he’s been playing a 200 foot game. He’s arguably been one of the best players throughout camp and he’s certainly impressed his coach. He impressed Ron Rolston so much so that he was given the job of igniting Grigorenko who was off to a slow start and boy did it work. Grigorenko’s two best preseason games have both come with Girgensons on his wing- coincidence, I think not.
Grigorenko and Girgensons feed off each other and have sparked some fantastic rookie chemistry during camp. Girgensons is a big body who is willing to do the dirty work in the corners and hitting people to free up space for Grigorenko to do his thing. Girgensons has looked great in every role he’s been asked to play and has shown he’s ready to play in the NHL, with the two young rookies flying high together Rolston would be smart to keep them together.
The two of them have formed great chemistry and want to make an impact for the Sabres, keeping the two of them together to start the season is a no brainer and could be a recipe to get Grigorenko off on the right foot. The Buffalo Sabres must keep Grigorenko and Girgensons together on the same line to begin the regular season. There’s no expectations this season, let the rookies play together, feed off each other, grow together and play some motivated hockey. They have great chemistry and are both extremely exciting to watch play, Girgensons deserves a shot and his best one is with Grigorenko.
Perhaps the question isn’t should the two of them be kept together, but rather who will play alongside them. The duo have lost both Tropp and Armia, who have seen time on their line. Could Steve Ott fill the void? He’d provide the veteran leadership alongside the two rookies and would be on the ice to protect them and do a lot of the dirty work. With both Ott and Girgensons, Grigorenko would have a ton of open ice out there. What about the speedy Tyler Ennis? He can play both centre and wing, so he’d be able to take face-offs for Grigorenko who can’t seem to win many. Ennis is a speedy play-maker who could certainly make the two rookie look good. Or what about, Power-forward in the making Marcus Foligno? Could you see him playing alongside the rookies?
What do you think. Should the Sabres keep Zemgus Girgensons and Mikhail Grigorenko paired on a line together to begin the season? If so, who accompanies them on that line? Let me know your thought’s on the duo’s time together.