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SABRES PROSPECTS REPORT: #BLUEPRINT EDITION

Kris Baker from SabresProspects.com profiles Mikhail Grigorenko

Wednesday, 09.11.2013 / 11:52 AM / Features
By Kris Baker  - SabresProspects.com
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SABRES PROSPECTS REPORT: #BLUEPRINT EDITION
A dominant playmaker both in the QMJHL and in U20 international competition, Mikhail Grigorenko was a fixture in junior hockey highlight reels thanks to his slick stick handling and dazzling array of passing skills. He also showed a keen shooting aptitude with 29 goals in 32 games with the Quebec Remparts before winning a job with the Sabres to start the shortened 2013 NHL season.

MIKHAIL GRIGORENKO

The Present
A dominant playmaker both in the QMJHL and in U20 international competition, Grigorenko was a fixture in junior hockey highlight reels thanks to his slick stick handling and dazzling array of passing skills. He also showed a keen shooting aptitude with 29 goals in 32 games with the Quebec Remparts before winning a job with the Sabres to start the shortened 2013 NHL season.

Playing the center position in the best league in the world can be a difficult proposition for an 18-year-old, and Grigorenko certainly endured highs and lows while adjusting to the pace of play, strength of the opposition, and requisite consistency that is demanded at the game’s top level. At the same time, he showed flashes of the deft touch and the change of gears needed to keep defensemen guessing. Expectations will be high in 2013-14 with an NHL roster spot already reserved, but the talented Russian has all of the physical tools to earn the minutes needed to achieve the goals set out for him.

The Future
The Sabres veteran leadership core will need to show him the way, but there is no question that the size and vision is there to make a significant impact for a franchise ready to develop another high-level offensive engine. The keys to success entering the middle year of his entry-level contract lay in him being receptive to coaching, improving his skating stride, and displaying the ability to play as big as his 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame suggests. He doesn’t necessarily need to enter the corners like a ball of fire, but leaning into defenders more along the boards should see him win his share of one-on-one battles, and in turn bring out the best of his cerebral skills.

As a centerman, his play in the defensive zone will need to mature as well. Retreating beneath his goal line in support of his defenders and tying up sticks in front of the net will be priority one. If he can add speed and improve his own-zone acumen, he may very well function in the mold of an Evgeni Malkin style of player for years to come.


For more on all the youngsters in the Sabres pipeline, check out Kris Baker’s web site - sabresprospects.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @sabresprospects for in-game updates throughout the week on any Buffalo prospects that are in action.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82