21-Year-Old Center – Colorado Avalanche
Mikhail Grigorenko Contract Information:
Signed a one-year (one-way), $675,000 contract with the Avalanche in July 2015.
Grigorenko filled in on the Avalanche's top line for the suspended Gabriel Landeskog on Saturday night and delivered a goal and two assists in a 5-1 win over the Canadiens.
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Mikhail Grigorenko: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
The talented Russian playmaker has the most high-end offensive skill set of any Sabres prospect, but too often shirks defensive responsibilities and fails to do what is asked of him. The Sabres have jerked Grigorenko around over the past two seasons, playing him on three different teams each year, causing him to be unable to find his groove. Entering the final year of his entry-level contract, Grigorenko has plenty to prove and will most likely start at the AHL level. The former Quebec Remparts star tallied four assists in nine games in the regular season with Rochester last year.
Considering his dominance at the junior level (139 points in 92 games over two seasons), Grigorenko had a tough adjustment to the NHL last season. He posted one goal and five points in 25 games, but wasn’t placed in a scoring line role by former head coach Lindy Ruff. With Grigorenko restricted from playing in the AHL and having nothing left to prove in the QMJHL, the Sabres will likely keep the 19-year old Russian in the NHL for the entire season. His potential is incredibly high and the opportunity will be there to produce, so those in keeper leagues should be ready to pounce if he’s still available.
Grigorenko, the 12th overall selection in June's NHL entry draft, is considered NHL-ready and will fight for a scoring role with the Sabres this fall. A big pivot is exactly what the Sabres need considering the sizes of Tyler Ennis and Cody Hodgson; Grigorenko's 85 points in 59 games with Quebec of the QMJHL cemented his status as one of hockey's top offensive prospects. However, he is only 18 years of age, so temper your enthusiasm in one-year leagues and keep close tabs on him in keeper formats.