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Sabres keeping rookie Grigorenko

Jan 29, 2013, 11:47 AM EDT

Mikhail Grigorenko Getty Images

Mikhail Grigorenko will be in Buffalo’s lineup tonight against Toronto, thus triggering the first year of his entry-level contract.

The Sabres had been debating whether to keep the 18-year-old center or send him back to junior.

“Two things [went into the decision],” Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said, per NHL.com. “The ability to continue his development in conjunction with his ability to help us win hockey games. Those two things really make it up.”

Grigorenko hasn’t been particularly effective in his first five games, failing to register a point while averaging 12:00 of ice time.

But the injury to Ville Leino has left the Sabres on the thin side at the center position.

Grigorenko’s last game, on Sunday against Washington, was also his best game.

“I think it did a lot for his situation,” Regier said.

Update: Two lineup changes for Buffalo heading into Tuesday’s game — defensemen Robyn Regher and Alex Sulzer will be replaced by Mike Weber and T.J. Brennan.

Regher has an undisclosed lower-body injury, though Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reports he was seen leaving First Niagara Center with a walking boot on his right foot.

Sulzer’s believed to be a healthy scratch.

  1. kgun80 - Jan 29, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    This is great news!! Let the kid get some experience!! Learn to play NHL style hockey in the NHL!!

    • zetaone - Jan 29, 2013 at 11:57 AM

      Yeahhhh except why burn a contract year on a kid that doesn’t SEEM ready for the NHL quite yet? Especially with barely over 40 games left in the season to develop..

      Personally I thought he could have benefited from a season in juniors..

      I get that the team is spread a little thin on talent, I just don’t think this is the right move. Time will tell.

      • bigblackzaranek - Jan 29, 2013 at 12:33 PM

        The kid cant learn anything else in juniors, he was already dominating there.

      • buddysguys - Jan 29, 2013 at 12:40 PM

        becuase in the end it will make him cheaper to resign. Rather than have 3 full years of NHL games he will have 2 1/2. Odds are he isnt exploding into a 20 goal scorer this year. Plus the Q’s season is almost over.

      • tarotsujimoto74 - Jan 29, 2013 at 3:32 PM

        Not worth sending him down. He’d only get 20 games plus playoffs and the Q is no longer a challenge for him. He belongs in the AHL, but unfortunately, that is not an option.

  2. lesleyvissersfacelift - Jan 29, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    Also the fact Leino can’t play the center position leaves them thin at the center position.

  3. ricepilof - Jan 29, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    Buffalo’s need a new coach to shake up that franchise. They are stuck in a rut and Grigorenko isn’t the answer. I think moves like that will just hurt the franchise even more and could mess up his career. New coach, do it Buffalo! Go Bruins! We own you.

    • elemeno89 - Jan 29, 2013 at 12:50 PM

      fair weather sabres fans always associate losing with the coach instead of looking at other external factors (ie injuries) and always compare the current roster to a team from almost 8 years ago. i would love to hear what coach would replace lindy ruff, and actually propel this team. its a challenge. list the names, because im sure i would love to hear who they think is qualified.

    • westsidewilly - Jan 29, 2013 at 1:05 PM

      Agree. Stuffy Ruff seems too complacent.

  4. hockeywithdrawal - Jan 29, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    Ville Leino had 8 goals and 25 points all of last year….so I’d be all for it if I was a Buffalo fan. It’s not like he needs to fill out or develop size-wise. I’ll bet he turns it around once he gets his legs and does ok. What line is he playing on, 2?

    • mehetmet - Jan 29, 2013 at 12:15 PM

      one can only wish. Sadly retard Ruff had him with John Scott the other night. He hasn’t been with anyone halfway decent for more than 15 seconds.

      • hockeywithdrawal - Jan 29, 2013 at 12:52 PM

        ahhh yeah…that could be an issue…

  5. jpelle82 - Jan 29, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    tough spot. a yr of a contract for 48 games sucks, especially when he is only 18. anything is better than leino though

  6. broadstbully33 - Jan 29, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    Bad move IMO. He is goin to be a great player but 3rd or 4th line minutes aren’t going to help his devolpement. 1st line minutes in juniors would go a long way for him. Then add on the fact they are burning a year off his contract for 48 games and probably no playoffs or early exit is kind of dumb.

  7. westsidewilly - Jan 29, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    Good move, I think. The kid doesn’t yet know what he can’t do. The Sabres need some speed and creativity from someone other than 29-19-26. Put him with Ott & Gerbe, I say.

  8. rabidbillsfan - Jan 29, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    Wow, love the idiocy of the fans here. Up until last game, what line do you shake up to put him with the “talent”? Hodg, Pommer and Vanek? Ennis, Staff and Foligno? Gerbe’s been out, Leino’s been out, so that leaves Ott, Scott, Kaleta, Ellis and Hecht. Not exactly a whole lot of fire power there. I’d like to see him center Ott and Gerbe. That would be their energy line, cause you know Ott and Gerbe love to mix it up, and they aren’t exactly strangers to scoring goals either. Either way, if somebody can’t start winning faceoffs, it is going to be a long shortened season here in Buffalo. This is my issue with him staying, could a guy like Luke Adam help this team more, though? But, on the flip side, working on top-tier talent and the conditioning he’ll recive in this marathon season will do nothing but improve his play. He just can’t get buried on the bench, gotta let the kid play even if he’s stinking it up. And my question to the Ruff haters, who else comes in and gets us what we want? At this time, nobody.

  9. buff80 - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    Why isn’t myers sitting? He has been terrible. Now that Grigs knows he made the big club maybe he will relax and stop gripping the stick on every shift. It must have been hard on Sunday with him thinking that every shift may be his last (with the big club). Lets see what he does tonight.

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