The Buffalo Sabres still have to figure out what to do with former first round draft pick and 19 year old Mikhail Grigorenko.
Rushed into service in the first year of NHL eligibility after the draft – the Buffalo Sabres have burned what is now amounting to two years of his entry level deal into the National Hockey League.
Grigorenko stands to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this contract – with little or no NHL experience under his belt.
The Sabres tried sending Mikhail Grigorenko to the Rochester Americans this year on a “conditioning stint” to try and salvage this season without sending him back to the QMJHL and the Quebec Remparts. Grigorenko is a stud for the Remparts, and is a man among boys in the “Q”.
The new regime is weighing the options with Grigorenko very carefully, wanting to get the most out of their inherited first round draft pick. Time it seems though – is no longer on their side. With Cody McCormick healthy and ready to play once again – a roster move is necessary. By loaning Grigorenko to the Russians, they don’t have to rush a player down the thruway to Rochester.
The best bet for the Buffalo Sabres at this point, is to loan Mikhail Grigorenko to the Russian Federation – and allow him to lead the Russian’s again at the World Junior’s – a tournament which he excelled in when the games were in Ufa, Russia.
If I am Grigorenko – or his agent, I would be using the time if loaned to the Russians to seek out employment in the KHL – on a team that will actually play him. That is one statement, that has to be playing on the minds of the hockey minds in the Buffalo Sabres organization – and for Mikhail Grigorenko, might be the best option for his hockey career.
Buffalo may be able to benefit the most if Grigorenko plays in the World Juniors – a dominant effort in the international tournament could boost the young forwards confidence – and would give the Sabres time to figure out where he fits on the roster.
Left off the invite list by the Russians because of the need to be “loaned” it might benefit Pat Lafontaine to give the Russians a friendly call and offer up the services of his young center. Who knows who will get injured in that two week loan period.