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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.

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