After appearing in 22 of Buffalo’s 27 games where he scored just one goal (below) with four helpers, Sabres center Mikhail Grigorenko has been sent down to the Quebec Remparts. The move comes as a surprise since the Sabres elected to keep him in Buffalo after their first five games thus taking one year off his three-year entry level contract.
Now the 18-year-old Khabarovsk native will return to the team where he scored 29 goals with 21 assists in 29 games before the end of the NHL lockout. Grigorenko won the Mike Bossy Trophy (Top Prospect), the RDS Cup (Rookie of the Year), and the Michel Bergeron Trophy (Offensive Rookie of the Year) with the team in 2011–12.
The boy known as Griggy will join his old mates who have just two games left in their regular season before the start of the playoffs. The Remparts currently reside sixth place in the 18-team league.
The Sabres have had quite the season off the ice electing to fire 15-year coach Lindy Ruff after a lackluster 6-10-1 start. The team hasn’t gotten much better and currently sit last in their division with a 10-14-3 record.
For Grigorenko, it’s easy to imagine this isn’t how he envisioned his rookie season to go after being drafted 12th overall last year. While he showed poise for Russia during the World Juniors in Ufa, his play didn’t really carry over to the NHL. Grigorenko spent 5 games as a healthy scratch after the Sabres decided he would stay on and it wasn’t until the release of Ruff that he returned to the line-up.
Hopefully he regains his scoring touch back in Quebec and will return to Buffalo with better poise knowing that his window of opportunity in the NHL can be closed rather quickly.