Ok, I’ll be the first person to admit that I’m a big fan of Mikhail Grigorenko. From the time that he was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres back in 2012, up until now I have been a fan of him and the great skills he possesses. Something sad and wasteful about what has happened to him is that he’s been used only on the third and fourth line of the Sabres. Playing with players like Patrick Kaleta, John Scott, Kevin Porter, etc, it hasn’t allowed him to use his scoring abilities that he certainly has.
I say to give Mikhail Grigorenko a chance of playing on the first line this year. Playing center for Matt Moulson and then possibly Tyler Ennis or even Brian Gionta would allow him to have his chances to score. What do the Sabres have to lose? During development camp this year he has bulked up and has been complimented on his work ethic, especially during the scrimmage game (Kris Baker interview with Brian Duff). With these improvements, I don’t think he should be handed a roster spot, but if he does make the team, I say he should be given a shot on the first line to truly evaluate his scoring skills. It’s difficult to score goals playing with grinders and enforcers.
He played first line on his junior team and accumulated points very well, so it’s worth the chance to let him have the best opportunity to score. Best case scenario, Grigorenko scores 25+ goals and 50+ points and proves he can live up to his potential. I for one would love to see him break out this year, and by putting him on a line with other scoring wingers, the chances of that happening increase greatly. Worst case scenario, he plays first line and learns what skill level it takes to play there so he works harder to get back to that spot. It’s a win-win situation for Ted Nolan and the Buffalo Sabres. We all know that this team isn’t going to be greatly improved next year, so giving Grigorenko a shot at this will only help his confidence and development.
What do you guys think? I definitely think he deserves the chance for success.