It appears that the Mikhail Grigorenko saga is taking another turn for the worst for the Buffalo Sabres organization.
— Bill Hoppe (@BillHoppeNHL) January 11, 2014
Grigorenko was informed of the decision to send the 19 year old prospect back down to the QMJHL and was not at all happy about the Buffalo Sabres decision to demote him.
Obviously Grigorenko is tired of the games by the Buffalo Sabres and has gone quiet while he and his agent have the chance to discuss things with the team.
Ted Nolan and Pat Lafontaine have hinted as the World Junior Tournament wound down that a tough decision would have to be made – however the best decision might be to send him back to the juniors.
The Buffalo Sabres burned the first year of Grigorenko’s entry level contract by sending him back down to the Quebec Remparts, and are likely going to burn the second year of his three year contract as well.
Interim head coach Ted Nolan understands the young players want to stay in the NHL – as all players strive for that goal. What happens next might be the determining factor in what happens with Grigorenko’s future.
If Grigorenko is truly unhappy and can’t convince the organization to not send him to the QMJHL – then he could bolt back to Russia and play in the KHL. He could also ask the team to buy him out of his entry level deal and ask they allow him to become an unrestricted free agent this year.
Grigorenko is currently under contract through the 2015-2016 regular season.
It’s a tough call for the Buffalo Sabres organization – who need to take a tough stand with Grigorenko. He hasn’t proven himself at the NHL level – but they are not going to let their 2012 first round selection walk away from the organization with nothing.
I anticipate this turning South for the Sabres – and turning East for Grigorenko – as in East to the KHL.