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Should the Buffalo Sabres Keep Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons Together?

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

Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Topics: Buffalo Sabres, Mikhail Grigorenko, Zemgus Girgensons

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  • Ben Chalker

    I would argue Stafford might be a worthwhile choice.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I’d be hesitant to put him with the youngsters because he isn’t performing

      • Nuthatch

        Yeah, but he hasn’t been performing with anyone lately, has he? Maybe he’d click with Grigs & Gergs. It’s worth a shot. And if those 2 ‘kids’ expect him to play well & hold up his end them maybe he would. No one likes to be shown up by rookies.

        • Caitlin Campbell

          I guess that could be a way to get him going… I’d just be worried they’d be carrying dead weight or would get dragged down. You want them to learn from the best.

          • Nuthatch

            True, but they only have one preseason game left, right? Might as well try. :)

          • Ben Chalker

            Zigs got Grigs going didn’t he…

          • Ben Chalker

            and if you go back and watch the video of the Lumbus game from the other night, Stafford fed the puck to Grigs on his goal anyway. the three forward on the ice at the time were Grigs, Zigs and Stafford.

          • Caitlin Campbell

            He did indeed… but they are both young players… Stafford is different so why not try it.

          • lamarred1118

            You run a risk of putting someone like Stafford wi s off the reward of getting this slug back on track th these two but if the risk pay

          • chas territo

            Staff is a shitty player who should be a civil service employee like garbageman!

          • lamarred1118

            That is why I stated it would be a HUGE risk, he is the guy that best exemplifies the “Banana Slug”, emphasis on the slug.

  • chas territo

    Ennis and Ott, centers? Why would anyone think those 2 are centers? Ott is better suited a wing. Ennis might be better on another team with his small size and game. Ben, why even mention Stafford? He’s the perfect example of a cut player! Guy makes money to drink coffee and eat donuts, nothing more does he give back. He is a lazy player. Having said what I said about TE and SO, Grigorenko does score and is better suited for center. He has looked better than last year, but we can’t send him down because our brilliant GM blew his chance for Rochester, we are stuck with him on the big league team. Gotta love(NOT!) DARCY don’t we?

    • Caitlin Campbell

      People would think that Ennis and Ott are centres… because they are. Ennis played centre two years ago and can fill in any time, Ott can also be used in the middle. Grigo can’t be sent down to the AHL because of his age I believe… Darcy did screw up his first year but it’s all due to his age.

      • chas territo

        C-lin, I don’t see Ott as a center, he looks like winger more. Ennis while he did play center, he is not a true or good enough center. He, like Ott is better as a wing.

  • bigolbig

    I like the idea of Grigs and Girgs playing with Ott as a 3rd line. Throw Foligno with Vanek and CoHo, that leaves Leino, Ennis and Staff. Could always swap Leino and Foligno if things aren’t working.

  • james1968

    I don’t agree with the idea that Grigerenko has been lazy. Rather his play has at times been tentetive and he seems to defer to vetern players. Paired with Z and Armia he appeared much more comfortable and able to assert himself. How Grigs progresses will have everything to do with who he’s paired with. A skilled player needs to play with skilled players, Zemgus provides that along with grit and defensive ability. They should absolutly stay together. Armia would be my choice to put with them, but since that’s not an option now, I’d say Foligno, but he’ll probably be on one of the top two lines.