Mikhail Grigorenko's tryout period is up. He's played five games, and if he plays one more, he'll have to stay in the NHL for the rest of the season. We asked a few of our writers to share their opinion on whether he should stay in the NHL or go back to Quebec, and we're interested in hearing yours as well.
I think Girgorenko has to stay, if only because the Sabres have proven that they need more players with elite offensive talent. While he is still pointless through five games, you saw yesterday what he's capable of when given more minutes, and his skill set is something few players on this team share. Besides, the Quebec Remparts only have 20 games left this season, so at this point you might as well let him stay in the NHL and play out the next 43.
I think it's been clear from Lindy's pairing Grigs with John Scott at one point, and even sitting him for the majority of the third period on Friday, that he's not planning on keeping him with the big club. Worrying about penny pinching and saving money for a year of his contract shouldn't be an issue with Pegula, so with the total lack of offense beyond the first line to start these four games, I'm baffled as to why this is a good idea. The team let Tyler Myers grow on the job, and Grigs looks even more physically capable than Myers did back then. Grigs has showed flashes of great playmaking ability, and it's going to take a lot more than five games to judge the overall gain we can have from him being on the ice for the duration of the year. So if you're asking me for a gut reaction? Keep him. Give me something to get excited about.
I think at this point there is no doubt Grigorenko needs to go back. At the beginning of the season I was slightly leaning that way but I was certainly open to just seeing what happened in the first five games. I don't think there has been anything wrong with his play at all, he's been fine, but he also hasn't played the the level where it would force the Sabres to keep him. The clincher is his usage though. It's a complete waste to keep him up for the season if he'll be used in a role where he plays 10 minutes per game with 1 minutes of power play time. He will be much better off in Quebec being the go-to guy in their playoff run playing 20+ minutes with big special teams time.
While I'm not on the #FreeGrigo bandwagon, I also feel that he needs to go back to Quebec because by his third game he had found his way into Lindy Ruff's doghouse, and as we all know, it took Thomas Vanek about five years to find his way out of there. Grigorenko really needs to go back and dominate in the QMJHL to get his mojo up before he comes to the NHL and forces Ruff to play him on the top two lines, where a draft pick of his stature should be playing.
While I agree with the others that he has not been spectacular on the ice, he also has not been a complete liability as well. When it comes down to center play on this team, we simply do not have many options to turn to since two of them are injured (Leino and McCormick) and one of them is more or less a Swiss Army Knife (Hecht) that will be played anywhere. If you do not look at his offensive stats, he is second on the team in FO% with those who have taken over 20 attempts, which is something to say for our team since we are horrible in the faceoff circle currently. He does have a poor Relative Corsi, but he is also not getting sheltered by Ruff (receiving the same amount of OFF/DEF zone starts as COHO does).All in all, I say keep him up. We have nothing better to replace him, so why send him down? I would only be for sending him down if we are working on a trade to bring a better center into the organization....which I would be surprised to see in such a young season. My vote: Grigs STAYS.
When it comes to Grigorenko he hasn't done anything spectacular but hasn't really hurt them either. I was excited about his promise and don't think he necessarily needs to be sent back down but wouldn't be up in arms if he was.
So there's our thoughts on Grigorenko. Now that you've seen him play all five games, Sabres fans, what do you think?