Everyone knew Mikhail Grigorenko was a special talent offensively, but questions surrounding his effort level and heritage caused his draft stock to plummet, and the Buffalo Sabres snagged him in the 2012 Entry Draft with the 12th overall selection.
After 12 games in the new QMJHL season, that pick may end up being the steal of the draft.
Grigorenko currently has 24 points in just 12 games, putting him on a 2 point-per-game pace for the mathematically challenged among us. His 10 goals and 14 assists in 12 contests matches the pace set by the league leaders despite playing in fewer games, and equally impressive is the fact that he's scored at least one point in all 12 of his games this season, matching his season high point streak from last year.
In 2011-12, Grigorenko was impressive enough, finishing with 85 points in 59 games, good enough for a top-10 finish in points in the QMJHL. But even that impressive campaign pales in comparison to what he's done so far - his current pace puts him on track for 136 points in a full 68 game season, and he's doing it all without former linemate Frederick Roy, who also finished in the top-10 last year in points but is playing for Ron Rolston in Rochester this season.
If the NHL lockout ever ends, Grigorenko will certainly get called in to Sabres training camp, and I would be shocked if he didn't get his 10-game tryout much like Tyler Myers did in 2009. The 6'2'' Russian center may be able to fill a big hole for Buffalo if Tyler Ennis's injury turns out to be anything serious or season-ending.
Regardless of his NHL potential this season, it's good to see the 18-year old uber-prosepct continuing to improve and dominating his competition. Grigorenko looks to continue his torrid start tonight against the fantastically named Baie-Comeau Drakkar.