Nov 12, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Mikhail Grigorenko (25) during the game against the Los Angeles Kings at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Mikhail Grigorenko Destroyed By Buffalo Sabres

Mikhail Grigorenko now has to report back to the Buffalo Sabres, with the World Junior Championship officially over.

Grigorenko ended the tournament with five goals and three assists.   Despite having a good tournament, he was not named to the tournament all star team like his NHL teammates Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov.

With the ability to dominate back in his mindset, he gets to come back to the twilight zone that is the Buffalo Sabres.  Unable to be sent to the Rochester Americans – Grigorenko must play for the Buffalo Sabres or be sent back to the Quebec Remparts.

Grigorenko is on his way to Buffalo, however – it may only be to get his marching orders to Quebec, as Ted Nolan is already leaning towards sending him back to the QMJHL.

“He’s coming back here initially. He’s coming here for Pat and I to discuss and we’ll make that decision when he gets here.” Nolan agreed with beat reporter Paul Hamilton on  junior may be best, “It’s what Patty and I will be discussing, but we’re leaning that way, yes.”

Why are the Buffalo Sabres so afraid to let the kid lose in a Buffalo Sabres uniform?  You can’t really blame him for not being able to score in the National Hockey League – no one wearing a blue and gold uniform is scoring.

Unfortunately for the Buffalo Sabres – time is limited on Mikhail Grigorenko in the National Hockey League and in Buffalo.  The Sabres have already burned and ruined two years of Grigorenko’s entry level deal.  Next year will be the final year of his first entry level contract.

If I were Grigorenko – I would be demanding the Buffalo Sabres buy me out of my contract and let me hit free agency early.  There should be no reason to carry on the charade any longer.  The team doesn’t want him to play in Buffalo, so why force him to watch hockey?  There are certainly teams in the National Hockey League that will sign and use him, or he can go play in the KHL where he will get the ice time his skill level calls for.

Tags: Buffalo Sabres Mikhail Grigorenko World Juniors

  • [email protected]

    Poor kid, it sucks he got caught up here at the wrong time. I would like to see him play, I don’t know if it makes sense to give him another shot for the rest of the season in Nolan’s mind though. I think Nolan is really coaching to keep the job here and if he thinks Grigorenko isn’t going to help the team and him, he won’t play him.

  • Vic Soga

    The young players should be playing but will not under Nolan. Girgenson is the only exception due to the Latvian connection and Pysyk is still on the bubble. Wouldn’t put it past me that the new GM will be told to trade the young guys for veterans. Feel sorry for the new GM as Nolan will run to Lafontaine if he does not get his way just like he did with Knox. Trading players will become a vote amongst Nolan, Lafontaine and the new GM. Hope they honor Risto before they send him to Rochester for good.

    • JHizzle75

      I disagree, Vic. I truly believe Girgs is still playing in the NHL because he has earned that right, not because of some sort of Nolan bias. Maybe initially the Latvian connection got him ice time, but his hustle and work ethic have solidified his spot in the roster. On any given night he is the most notable Sabre on the ice and plays with grit and heart.
      I think if Grigorenko showed these qualities early in the season he would still be here. Yes I know he was buried on the 4th line but isn’t that more incentive to try harder, to play with passion and intensity? Make a name for himself, so to speak, and earn his ice time. Guys on our 4th line hustle, I think right now Nolan wants guys to leave it all out on the ice, and Grigorenko didn’t impress with his work ethic early on.

      • [email protected]

        Well, that was what Nolan is known for, rewarding players who leave it all on the ice as you said. But it seems that our young guys who were playing under Rolston weren’t given a fair shake to fall into his style of coaching and running the team.

        • JHizzle75

          Fair point. I was just responding to the notion that Girgs only made the cut because of Nolan, and that Grigorenko didn’t because of his work ethic. The other rookies…I’m not sure why they haven’t been playing more.

          • Dano

            Zadorov is going to the CHL back to the London Knights. Dale hunter is a good coach. Hes better there then in Buffalo right now, developing a bit further.

            P.Kane, Tavares, Rick Nash, Cory Perry.. Some examples of Hunters coaching. Zadorov is better off under Hunters coaching right now then Nolans.

          • Ron

            Dano: totally agree! Having him play under Dale Hunter will be a plus. It is too bad we can’t get Mr. Hunter to be on Nolan’s coaching staff. Those two would bring out the work ethic in everyone or they would be gone in a heartbeat. No soft players allowed. I could see them playing bad cop, worst cop. That would be interesting.

          • Dano

            All B.S. aside.. Its too bad we couldnt get hunter to Coach the Sabres. I like Nolan. He finds ways to get players to put effort into their game. Hunter though? His on-ice reputation speaks for itself ( and the rest of his family for that matter! ).

            Imagine if there was a way to put Grigornko under Hunters development?

          • Ron

            Again I don’t disagree. I like Nolan also. Liked him when he was with the Sabres the first time. Remember thinking why in the world would you let Nolan go after the great job he did with very little exceptional talent. I think Hunter would be a great asset for the Sabres and for Grigornko (and for that matter several of the other young players). At the very least if neither Nolan or Hunter could get him to play up to his potential, there would only be a few other coaches in the NHL that I would say would even have a shot at getting him to play great; Babcock, Hitchcock, Sutter and maybe Roy since he seemed to play well under him in Juniors.

          • Dano

            If Nolan and Hunter cannot get a player motivated and up to potential, give them the boot. Not worth the nanny’ing for a million dollar ‘ project ‘ when theres a whole team in need of tending to.

            Its not odd at all that you mentioned Roy. Colorado.. they have some players/prospects worth looking at.

          • Ron

            Colorado definitely has some prospects and players worth a review. In fact if they decide to unload Grigorenko, they would be a great trade partner. I can see Buffalo putting together a package that included him to maybe get a top 6 scoring forward that is more consistent and less of a project.

    • Dano

      Im betting Zadorov and Risto play/make the team next year.

      They do have a somewhat unfair advantage as they are defensemen.

  • Dano

    Package him up for a trade. See if the Oilers want him. Find a contender thats drafting low, snag their first rounder.

  • Thomas Eric

    Give the kid a chance on a top line with good talented line mates!!!!!

    • davidmuscalo

      For those conditions to be met, he would have to be traded to another team.

      • Thomas Eric

        Not true just stick him on the first line 3 games and see what happens

        • wolfdoctor

          I think david was joking, sarcastically saying that there is no way that Nolan would put Grigorenko on the first line, even for 3 games.

  • ateee

    I mean he is 19 years old. Is it fair to call this a bust? Really? I think the initial screw up was having him make the team out of camp in the first place. He’s stuck in a crappy situation. But I am perfectly ok with letting him finish in the juniors and spend next season in the AHL. With the cap space we have, who cares? But I’m not calling for the head of someone who was just named one of Russia’s top three players in the juniors tournament. Grigs has all the makings of a player that could come back to bite us in the ass if we aren’t patient. If he needs more time to learn and connect, give it to him. But with all our injuries and our home game win streak, I don’t see anything wrong with hanging on to him for a few games here either.

    • Timothy Redinger

      He is a bust for Buffalo because the team doesn’t want him – may or may not be his fault. We don’t have time for him to develop; he has one year left on his contract and the way the team is treated you think he will give them the time of day?

      • Jes

        He’s not a bust Tim. If anything the Sabres are a bust for treating the guy this way. He will light it up elsewhere. Our coaches suck playing for 2-1 victories and losses isn’t gonna get him on the score sheet. Playing with Scott and Porter isn’t going to get him many points either.

      • Dano

        I dont think hes a ‘ bust ‘ for Buffalo. I think hes a project in the shadow of Darcy Regiers incompetence.

        Its known I dont care for Euros or Russian players. I dont care for their style of play. But inside the system that he was put in, how was there a chance for the kid to learn the North American way of playing?

        Rolston? A LOT of people propped him up and said he was a great instructional coach. NONE of the youth developed at all under him IMO. I *would* say the same about Nolan, but hes coached much younger players and has had some results. Nolan coaches differently for the NHL though.

        You are very correct in your stating Grigorenko wont ( and shouldnt ) give Buffalo the time of day.

        They should do him a favor and find a team that plays a more european style ( Detroit, Washington ) and see what they would trade for him. They at least owe him that for Regiers failures.

  • Joe

    He will go nowhere he hass hown zero work ethic he just skates around like hes out for a skate withthe guys. He has shown no want or care to try and ply hard

    • Jes

      How is that even 50% accurate?

  • Kevin

    3 things come to mind here. They need to stop comparing him to ZG. He isn’t ZG, he is more of a slower learner. 2). They need to play him on the top line and give him some confidence and stop treating him like a bust. How the hell is going be able to show anything playing on the 4th line every night. He needs to be with talent to help him out. 3). As I mentioned, he has a confidence problem. the kid plays in fear. He needs to relax and play within himself and let his talent come out. But the only way that is going to happen is if the coach install some confidence in him and puts him in a position to succeed and leaves him there more than game. I wouldn’t call him a bust just yet. he’s to young AND he has been mishandled by the Great DR.

  • Jes

    Absolute bullshit. I’d take Grigorebko over most of the team right now. Nolan alone will destroy him even more. So time for Sabres to trade him. Watch him light it up for a different team. Absolute joke.

  • qwicwted

    I think the Sabres should package Grigorenko with Ott or Moulson or Ennis for someone like Evander Kane, ROR, or Pavelski. Need to make a trade with a top six that doesn’t have a NMC and has a couple of years left on their contract. I don’t see Nolan playing him as he would rather play the grinders. We may get a few more wins than if our youngsters were playing, but I wonder in Nolans mind if any of them will be ready to play in the bigs. You’re right Joey – Nolan is playing for his job.

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  • jimbobv2

    This is one of the worst pieces I’ve ever read on here.

    The past regime made the mistake of rushing him to the NHL last year. Forcing him into the lineup this year would be making that same mistake again.

    Grigorenko should have been slow cooked like the Sens did with Jason Spezza years ago.

    Grigorenko should go back to Quebec today after the QMJHL trade deadline expires at noon so the Remparts can add a third import player.

    Next year, Grigorenko should start the year in Rochester.

    Force feeding Grigorenko NHL minutes that he has neither earned nor is ready for would only increase the likelihood that he is a bust.

    As for buying him out, that is the dumbest thing I have read today.

    • davidmuscalo

      Couldn’t agree more!

      • Ron

        I second that, All in favor say I! Those Opposed? Hearing none, send him back to Juniors and let him get the development he needs. See you in the NHL with Buffalo in 2015

        • Dano

          Problem being, will he want to play with the Sabres? In 2015/16, his entry level contract becomes that of an RFA. What do you sign him for and how much ‘ compensation ‘ from the headaches do you pay him?

          Will he fully developed with one year in the AHL?

          • Ron

            Maybe he wants to play for the Sabres, maybe he doesn’t. However after this year in Juniors and next year at Rochester, the Sabres should have a good idea whether or not he has the skills to play at the NHL level. Based on that assessment, either a contract is offered at a reasonable level based on that assessment or he is part of a trade or he is let go and we chalk it up to mistakes made by the past regime and move on. I personally think he can do it, with the right coaching and motivation. I could see him being signed in the 2-3 million per year range as an RFA if he has a decent year at Rochester.

          • Dano

            I think being drafter above 10, and offered 2-3mill.. After being sent all over the place, used as a 4th line player.. Kind of insulting.

            As stated before, I dont care for Russians and I’ve never been a ‘ Grigorenko ‘ fan. CC and I have had different perspectives, but from a business standpoint, If I were Grigorenko, I would walk away from the whole Buffalo Organization and look for a fresh start elsewhere. Use the perspective as motivation to hopefully come back to Buffalo on an opposing team and burn them on the scoreboard.

            The kid didnt seem to grasp the NHL game. 3 different coaches and all *seemed* to not be able to help the kid on the NHL level. I use the term ‘ seemed ‘ as I dont know the situation. The Kid might be a prima-donna or have attitude issues of somekind. Maybe he wasnt to play a style of hockey the past coaches dont want to implement. Im not in the locker room to know these things.

            Sometimes, walking away is the best thing. Cut the kid loose. If he can develop elsewhere and make it in the NHL, thats what ( probably ) would be best for all involved.

            How well would Grigorenko develop under Chadd Cassidy in Rochester next year after playing the rest of this year in Juniors? Will another team throw an offersheet in front of him if he does develope?

            Theres a lot of questions the Organization has to look at.

          • Ron

            I don’t disagree with you. Would another team offer more than 2-3 million per year. Maybe but I would think doubtful especially if he hasn’t produced much at the NHL level. I guess there are a lot of questions to be answered over the next year and a half and only time will tell how it plays out.

  • davidmuscalo

    Grigo is great when the opposition are kids. He has had numerous opportunities to demonstrate that he belongs in the NHL. Regier tried to force him on Ruff and Rolston and it destroyed his self confidence. He was sold to us fans by Regier as NHL-ready, and he was, and still is, far from NHL-ready. Unfortunately, management and Nolan are saddled with damaged goods – so to speak. Even if the Sabres do decide to keep on the team, he will likely continue to founder and lose even more of his self esteem – he just can play at the NHL pace. He needs time in the minors acquire experience, size and speed unfortunately he can’t play in Rochester where he really belongs.

  • Robert Murphy

    all this falls on Darcy and Lindy