Buffalo Sabres It's Time For a Line-Up Shake-Up

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Line 1: Thomas Vanek- Mikhail Grigorenko- Marcus Foligno

I’ll give you a minute to pick your jaw up off the floor. Yes I have Mikhail Grigorenko slated in on the first line to play with Thomas

Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Vanek. Has Grigorenko earned a spot on the top line? No, but what could it hurt? Why keep a player of his skill buried on the 4th line, it’s only destroying his confidence. Give him a promotion to the first line and let him work his kinks out alongside Vanek and Foligno. If you want to see what he’s truly capable of you have to give him a shot to show you.

Both Vanek and Grigorenko have a nose for scoring and they will be the skill on the line while Foligno applies the muscle and grit for his linemates and takes care of all the dirty work in the corners. Let Grigorenko learn from Vanek and Foligno as the three try to generate offence. Foligno saw time on the top line during preseason action and was only demoted because of injury, give him some time on the top line and watch that line flourish as he powers them on.

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Tags: Buffalo Sabres Lines Mikhail Grigorenko NHL

  • Michael McBurney

    I’m entirely with you, especially where it goes to moving the pieces so that rookies get exposure to working with different vets (though it still seems weird to consider Foligno and Hodgson as “vets”?) and putting the vets into roles where they’re enabled to take on more responsibility for their lines. But I question some of the details… I’d switch your combos up a bit to account for five points…

    1) My understanding was that Foligno was almost slotted in with Hodgson-Vanek pre-season/injury, but even at that time there was the question of both guys wanting to play off the right side for passes from center (I got this from a Vanek comment at the time of the pre-season experimentation).

    2) Hodgson seems to defer to passing before shooting. Perhaps it’s a Vanek thing (ie: the kid simply defers to Vanek) or perhaps it’s that he leans to playmaking before goal scoring, dunno. But in either case, I’d for sure plug him in with some wings who aren’t just gonna make room for him but are closers themselves.

    3) I thought Girgensons is a centerman too, and just being integrated into the NHL in the wing spot for his own development?

    4) Ott hasn’t been doing a lot more than make room on the top line, but he’s been great in the dot and playing a generally solid shut-down role, which seems prime for a 3rd line center…

    5) Ice time… spread it out more. I’m a Hodgson fan so it’s great seeing him get the minutes, but for the sake of developing a whole “team”, then give guys roles (like Ott as a shutdown artist) and spread the minutes more…

    That leaves us with

    Vanek – Larrson – Girgensons
    (Larrson seems to look like a two-way guy, Girgs makes space and things happen)
    Foligno – Hodgson – Grigorenko
    (Hodgson’s pts may go down, but experience will count for more in the long term, Grigs/Hodgson can swap around in the dot depending on the game situation)
    Ennis – Ott – Stafford
    (with special teams and being used for checking + secondary scoring, these guys would get quality minutes and offensive opportunity too)
    Flynn – Porter – Scott

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I like your line’s I just don’t think moving Grigo to the wing is the best move for his development right now. He needs to focus on playing centre and I think Larsson is more versitle to move to the wing.
      I too am a Hodgson fan… nice to find another one out there!

      • Michael McBurney

        Hmmm… so like swap Larrson for Grigorenko? I *do* like Larrson in the dot (leads all reg. centers with 56%), but your idea might make for something very interesting…

        Vanek – Grigorenko – Girgensons
        Foligno – Hodgson – Larrson
        Ennis – Ott – Stafford
        Flynn – Porter – Scott

        And yeah, I’m a total Hodgson fan, just trying not to have my blinders on at the risk of seeing if some of the rookies might ultimately prove better at 1C (which is hard, cuz I really like my Hodgson blinders!;-)).

        • Caitlin Campbell

          I hear ya, I grew up playing hockey with Hodgson so I’m pretty partial to the man haha. I think he will be overtaken by the youngsters eventually though, but he’s still a solid 2/3C.
          Yup I like those lines they make things pretty interesting

          • Michael McBurney

            “playing hockey with Hodgson”? As in “with” the kid? Now *that* sounds like a story ;-)

            But yeah, I can see him as a 2C anyway. 3C depending on the depth. But then that makes for some pretty decent depth!

          • Caitlin Campbell

            Yes Sir, I have been on the ice playing hockey with Cody Hodgson himself. I played hockey with his sisters for years and whenever he was in town he’d join us for practices, play some shinny with us and participate in our “family” game every year. I have personally stopped a Cody Hodgson shot haha

  • Ryan G. King

    I agree with the lines for the most part. Just switch the wings on the 2nd and third line Ennis-CoHo-Staff. Having a checking 3rd line of Zemgus-Larson-Ott would be epic. Besides I never thought was a top 6 forward at any point.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I just don’t want Staff to draft CoHo down with him, but CoHo and Ennis together could be dangerous for sure. Oh man Girgs-Larsson and Ott could be solid

  • lee Munn

    I agree with you COMPLETELY… The hard part will be in 2 weeks with Armia/Lieno/Kaleta & McCormick returning. If they are keeping Kaleta for’ P.K. and agitating’ (his main/only strength) they will have to send down or loose Scott or McCormick… I would rather keep McCormick up as our sit or play hardman, not the strongest on offense but a much better 2 way Player/Fighter.

    • lee Munn

      If Grigs does not look stronger with playing with Fol/Van then I would send back to Ramparts for remainder of year.. Most all say he can’t learn anymore in QMJHL. But better than playing 6 mins a game with Scott & Kaleta

      • Caitlin Campbell

        yup having him lighting up the QMJHL would be better than keeping him stuck with Scott

    • Caitlin Campbell

      The line-up is going to get pretty messy in the next 2 weeks for sure… who go’s where will be the big question. Obviously Leino isn’t going anywhere but will this force the Sabres to send Grigo back to the Q?

  • Jes

    I think Ennis would be the better fit on the first line (He’ll add a lot of speed to that line), and Foligno on the third line. Other than that, all is good. When Tropp and Leino come back I’d send down Porter and McCormick.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      We’re not going to agree about Foligno are we? I think he shouild see some time on the top line, but I can’t argue with Ennis’ speed on that line