Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Is This the Beginning of the End For Mikhail Grigorenko in Buffalo?

Mikhail Grigorenko worked hard and did everything the Buffalo Sabres asked of him before and during the World Juniors and he himself believed he had done enough to stick around in Buffalo. Unfortunately, Ted Nolan and Tim Murray didn’t share those same views, as they sent him to the Quebec Remparts yesterday, but what they didn’t expect was Mikhail Grigorenko to take a stand. After news broke that Grigorenko would be heading to the QMJHL, another story broke stating that Grigorenko was refusing his loan to the Remparts. What does that mean? It means, Mikhail Grigorenko doesn’t want to be anywhere other than Buffalo right now.

Now you have to feel bad for the kid who has been jerked around by Darcy Regier for the better half of two years. Sending him up and down like a yo-yo and promising him a chance to play while keeping him on the 4th line alongside John Scott or, in the press box eating popcorn. There are a lot of people to blame for the Grigorenko mess from the NHL right down to Grigorenko himself. The last two years have been crazy for him and he has every right to be frustrated with the way he’s been handled but, he doesn’t have the right to put himself before the Buffalo Sabres.

Now I’ve said this before but let me reiterate. When a prospect, expected to be taken in the top three falls all the way out of the top 10 to 12th there’s something not right. Grigorenko was highly touted by 11 other GM’s in the business of building successful teams. A guy like Grigorenko would have been a huge plus to their team. Yet all 11 GM’s ahead of Regier passed on the kid, and the Sabres are beginning to see why.



We’re beginning to see the other side and the attitude of Grigorenko which made other teams look the other way. In case you hadn’t

noticed he is quite self entitled and refusing to report just shows how selfish the kid is. There are lots of other 19 year olds who get sent back down to junior and just work harder for their next shot, he is 19 and most 19 year olds are in juniors. Like it or not Grigorenko is not a clear cut NHL player yet, he isn’t ready to make an impact night in and night out and he hasn’t yet clued into the fact that he has to work to be better.

Grigorenko had a solid World Junior tournament but it wasn’t spectacular. He didn’t put in any extra effort to carry the Russian squad, he just rode his talent through the tournament. Having talent is one thing but in the NHL every single guy on the ice has talent, it’s the guys who put in the work to take their talent to the next level that succeed.

Mikhail Grigorenko and the Buffalo Sabres are at a cross roads right now. The guy believes he is ready to play in the NHL and maybe Nolan could help him out by playing him with Cody Hodgson, Marcus Foligno or even Steve Ott, but Tim Murray came into Buffalo on a wrecking ball. Murray isn’t going to take any crap from any player on his way to rebuilding the Sabres. Will Murray really cave and play Grigorenko back in Buffalo?

Or does Murray take a stand and show Grigorenko who the boss is? 19 year old kids have to earn their ice in this league and on the Buffalo Sabres, Grigorenko has done nothing to earn the ice he believes he deserves.

The Sabres have now burned two years off of Grigorenko’s entry level deal by toying around with the kid, obviously he’s upset and wants to play in the NHL but he would have been better to keep his mouth shut and wait for his ELC to expire and either demand a trade or head to the KHL. Now every team in the NHL knows the Sabres are in a tight spot and with his attitude the return for him just got a lot smaller.

Is this stand by Mikhail Grigorenko the beginning of the end for his time with the Buffalo Sabres? I’ll leave you with one last tweet;



Tags: Buffalo Sabres Mikhail Grigorenko

  • Labbatt

    I Honestly Believe It’s A Jealousy Issue. He Knows he Is More Talented Than Girgs, but Girgs Is Playing On The First Line, With Better Players.

    • JHizzle75

      Girgs earned his ice time. Grigo shouldn’t be jealous of Girgs, he should be looking up to him as an example of what he needs to do to play at the NHL level.

      • Caitlin Campbell

        That’s exactly correct- wanna be as good and highly regarded as Girgensons put in the work

      • Dano

        Excellent comment!

        • JHizzle75

          Thanks Dano

    • Caitlin Campbell

      That’s actually a decent point maybe there is a little jealousy between Grigo and Girgs. Thanks for bringing that one up!

  • qwicwted

    I really think it is time to cut bait. I would say trade Grigorenko – package him with another asset and maybe get someone like Kane, Eberle, Brown – or trade him for Stewart. I still think a good trade might be Ennis, Grigorenko and McNabb for Pavelski. But hey, what might make sense is trading Grigorenko for Briere even though Briere has an NMC – I’m sure he would ok the trade as he would get plenty of playing time, bring leadership and could mentor our youngsters.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I honestly would not be opposed to a trade at this point. When a 19 year old takes a stand like this there is a big issue IMO and he is not a team first guy the Sabres can ride through the rebuild

    • Dano

      ” I would say trade Grigorenko.. ”

      *IF* I were another team, knowing the kid has some skill ( enough to be drafted as high as he was ), but brought a cancerous attitude to the locker room.. would I want him around?

      Its a question that needs to be asked.

      Many would give him a pass and blame ‘ how he was handled ‘. Thats their choice. How many other GM’s out there looking to trade are going to overlook the kids response to Murray? Not many in my opinion.

      His trade value tanked. Im starting to believe his agent TOLD him not to report to juniors to decrease his trade value. Strategically, its working for him. The Kid can hurt the teams trade return and further open the door to the KHL ( if thats what hes looking to do ).

    • Jes

      I don’t know how his attitude was “Cancerous” like the below poster has mentioned. Just because he didn’t want to report to the Q doesn’t mean his attitude was cancerous inside the locker room haha.

      Many would take a risk on a future #1 center.

      Pavelski is more of a #2. We already have enough of those. If we can get Cotoure then sure but Pavelski no thanks. I’d rather just suck it up for another year and take a shot at Eichel or McDavid then trading all that for Pavelski.

  • Melvin Hurley

    Let’s just step back and look at how the system is not working for a young prospect, he has outgrown the league he had go back towhat other options exist? Only one play in a league he has not yet demonstrated his development justifies a place on the team.
    What are the options?
    Stagnate and not improve
    Work hard in a league to demonstrate attitude
    Seek release
    Please for an opportunity
    In my view none are personally acceptable for my son so why for someone else’s?
    Buffalo has not treated him kindly or fairly, I do not see many arguing that this ifs not true.
    I am saddened that shipping out to remove a problem is the chosen path. In my view the coaching staff need to stand up to their coaching responsibilities and work to help a prospect realise his full potential.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      He has been mistreated I’ll give him that. But he’s a 19 year old rookie who has done nothing and I mean nothing to prove he’s worthy of what he wants. At 19 you keep your mouth shut and do what your coach wants. He’s an RFA in a another year all he had to do was wait and turn down any offer from the Sabres

      • Melvin Hurley

        Put yourself in his situation.
        You get drafted and based upon your play tow seasons ago get on the roster for your NHL team. A Buffalo team that has to have been the worst “opportunity” you could envisage. Then what happens you get shifted from pillar to post as the whole team implodes and the coach who didn’t know what to do with you gets fired but you have already played too many games to benefit from a drop in league. Then you get dealt with Ron Rolston who couldn’t figure out how to treat his experienced players let alone merge the new kids into the team.
        He then gets told he’s off to the World juniors does ok for a guy whose confidence must be shot to bits. He arrives back in Buffalo and immediately gets told by the new coaching and management team he is being returned to a league he has long outgrown.
        I pose the question whose responsibility is it to coach and develop the player? If your answer is the player then I’ll give up commenting. For me the answer is the coaching staff in Buffalo as that is where the previous management team decided he should be.
        The guy has talent and has also shown attitude, Why should he accept the treatment he is getting? My concern is he’ll be crushed by returning to Quebec juniors.
        I think he has spoken from frustration and despair, you have to have guts to even think about doing that let alone actually saying it. Good for him he is showing some fight.
        Ted Nolan may not be the reason for the situation Grigorenko is in BUT he is the head coach for the whole Sabres organisation and I think he should accept the responsibility for the player and work with him not dump him into obscurity.
        A coach is responsible for his players and where this player is concerned no one wants to carry the responsibility for developing him. That says something about the new Sabres organisation that worries me as much as the last.

        • Dano

          “Put yourself in his situation.”

          *I* wish I would have had the chance to be in that situation. This kid is given the chance that I ( and the son you mentioned ) will never see! What does Grigorenko do? He thumps his chest and states how things are going to be.

          I hope Murray Tolls his contract which puts him in limbo. See how his agent and his attitude change. Its Murrays best move to showing hes building the team, not some 19yr old kid with an attitude.

      • Jes

        Ok? Nichuskin didn’t prove nothing either earlier in the year yet they gave him time with the top two lines and stuck with his stubborn ass and now he’s coming along greatly. It’s not the player that is wrong in this situation. It’s the coach. And that’s a fact.

        • JHizzle75

          Nichuskin isn’t Grigorenko.
          THAT’S a fact . To blame the coach is merely your opinion, not a fact.

          • Jes

            Hey all I know is if he was on Detroit, Dallas, Edmonton etc he’d be an NHLer and he’d be producing because why? Yes because he wouldn`t be buried on the 4th line behind 9 players that basically don’t even match him in skill and THAT”S A FACT!! Who`s job is it to set lines? Yes you are right again THE COACH.

            Sportsnet 365 AKA TheScore

          • JHizzle75

            To say he would be producing on teams like Detroit, Dallas and Edmonton on the top 2 lines is probably true, but it is strictly hypothetical. A fact is something that has been proven.
            I’m not a Grigorenko hater, I think any player would be more productive on the top lines of any team. You get more ice time and play with better players, it stands to reason. My opinion is that it’s not Grigo’s skill level that keeps him off the top lines in Buffalo, it’s his compete level.

          • Dano

            The AP made the announcement around 11:30pm EST. I posted the comments from it above.

  • Jes

    The guys been treated unfairly since day one. HE IS READY FOR THE NHL!!! And when we trade this kid to another NHL team watch how this kid lights it up. Who’s spot will he take? Flynn? Stafford? Leino?

    Murray’s been on the job for how long? This will be ranked as one of his worst moves in a couple years time. 2nd worst will be taking the interim tag off of Nolan.

  • Dano

    Latest update : Grigorenko WILL report to juniors..

    “Grigorenko’s agent, Jay Grossman, told The Associated Press his client agreed to report to the Remparts after lengthy discussions with Sabres president Pat LaFontaine and newly hired general manager Tim Murray.

    “It’s safe to say we’ve had serious concerns about his development process and that was warranted,” Grossman said. “We felt it was important for the Sabres to look more carefully at his development and that we had these kinds of conversations that were necessary so that we were on the same page going forward with respect to his development.”

    I guess Murray put his foot down.

    “”The hope is that with him being assigned outside the organization that they were going to monitor his progress,” Grossman said. “I think time will tell. I think that it’s obviously the player’s responsibility, which he surely is willing to take on to work hard and to continue to develop his game.””

    • JHizzle75

      Read it. Wonder what changed his mind?

      • Dano

        I wasnt in the room, neither were any of the other posters here, but I can *speculate*.

        Its a known fact the kid wants to play in the NHL and doesnt wish to settle for what he deems ‘ less ‘. So, he refuses to report back to juniors.

        The Boss walked in and they had a discussion on his future with the kids AGENT in the mix.

        Odds are, the ‘ Agent ‘ makes a percentage for representing the kid. If he feels the kid is a future star ( like so many others do ), he will protect his ‘ investment ‘ as the more the kid is worth, the greater his ( agents ) pocket will be lined.

        The Agent wont make much of anything if the kid goes to the KHL. Different league. From what I read ( true or not ) when Robert Esche and Jiri Hudler left, they had to find different agents.

        I have a feeling the Agent/Player Rep helped influence the thought of going back to juniors.

        • Caitlin Campbell

          yup several beat writers who spoke with Sabres representitives said Grigorenko was officially fine with QMJHL assignment but once he told his agent his mind changed as neither party gets any $$

          • Dano

            It would seem his agent isnt concerned with much outside of money.

  • qwicwted

    Glad to hear he is reporting to Quebec. I believe he does have a lot of skill and talent, he just needs to understand that he just can’t sit back and rely on it. He needs to earn his time. Yes, he was stuck on a crappy line but I seem to remember him spending time on the 2nd and 3rd lines. I think a lot of times these guys listen too much to their agents instead of thinking for themselves.