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Grigorenko gets ‘huge opportunity’ with Buffalo’s AHL team

Mar 31, 2014, 8:34 PM EDT

Mikhail Grigorenko Getty Images

Mikhail Grigorenko is finally getting a chance to play at the AHL level.

Now all he’s got to do is take advantage of it.

“This is a huge opportunity for him,” Rochester Americans coach Chadd Cassidy said, per the Democrat and Chronicle. “As a guy who has kind of ping-ponged around, he’s looking for an opportunity with new management to solidify his place in this organization.

“Management has said time and time again they want guys producing here and earning their way up.”

The Sabres have tried to get Grigorenko into the AHL before — a potential move to Rochester in November was blocked by the NHL — and that’s left the young Russian bouncing back and forth between the NHL level (which the Sabres feel he’s not ready for) and the QMJHL (which he has dominated, scoring 89 points in his last 56 games.)

Because of the AHL-CHL agreement — CHL prospects must remain in major junior until they are 20 or have played four full seasons before playing in the American League — Grigorenko wasn’t able to play for Rochester full-time. So the Sabres had to find him temporary places to play (to wit: he represented Russia at the 2014 World Juniors, where he led the team in scoring and finished second in the tournament with five goals) until his season in the Q was complete and he could join the Amerks.

After his Remparts were eliminated from playoff contention on Friday, he was free to go to the American League.

Now, it’s basically like he’s starting all over again.

Still only 19 years old, Grigorenko has a chance to impress an entirely new management team from the one that drafted him 12th overall at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. The two coaches he previously played for in Buffalo, Lindy Ruff and Ron Rolston, are long gone. The GM that drafted him, Darcy Regier, has been replaced.

So it’s time to show a whole new set of people what he can do.

“I have two or three weeks now and I really have a chance to help the guys,” he said after practice on Monday. “It’s a good opportunity for me.”


  1. westinpat - Mar 31, 2014 at 9:35 PM

    Now his real development begins, time for Grigorenko to show the Sabres he is not a bust at the NHL level.

    • c9castine - Mar 31, 2014 at 10:02 PM

      how would he show that at the AHL level?

      i think the point here is to get him used to professional life, in one of the top few leagues in the world, against guys who are much more his peers and playing a similar way to the way the sabres play and getting used to that.

      • anthj99 - Apr 1, 2014 at 3:25 AM

        You essentially answered your own question. The AHL is the next best thing to the NHL and excelling there will show the team that he’s capable at the NHL level. The Q is a high scoring, offensive points machine and it’s not uncommon for the better players to score at a 2pts/game pace. I could really care less how he’s played with kids in the Q at this point. A point per game with the Amerks and any semblance of defensive responsibility would be a great first step to show he has any future in the NHL.

      • c9castine - Apr 1, 2014 at 12:00 PM

        you prove you belong at the NHL level by playing at the NHL level but first you have to prove you deserve the opportunity.

        I think thats what buffalo management is looking for here despite the fact hes played some games in the NHL they want him to earn his chance down in the AHL. thats what im saying.

  2. billsfanaddict - Apr 2, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    Oh how I hope Timmay Murray attacks the draft like he attacked the trades. grade them on value as they may, but deny not what the moves represented… he had 2 or 3 “layers” of specific targets he was looking for from the teams interested in his pieces, so he went out & got those particular names [as good &/or many as he could given the barren market]. I’d rather have a GM who knew who he wanted and why he wanted em rather than settling due to slightly prohibitive Perceived costs. With the pipeline as rich & balanced as it is I’d love to see numerous late round picks and trade cogs upgrading themselves into a smaller number of higher-end/round talents.

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