|2012 - Mikhail Grigorenko||1||4||5||-1||0|
Contract: $1.76 Million cap hit through 2014-2015
Report Card for 2012: None
Introduction: It was hard to escape the "Grigorenko Fever" after the Sabres drafted the young Russian in last year's draft. After a solid start to his season in the QMJHL, Grigorenko was given a chance to prove himself on the Sabres after the lockout ended. Hopes were high for the forward, however, he was never able to really get things going in Buffalo.
Grigorenko seemed to struggle in proving to either Lindy Ruff or Ron Rolston that he was worthy of solid ice time and was passed by other rookies like Brian Flynn. After 22 games with only five points Grigorenko was sent back down to juniors until his season ended with the Quebec Remparts. After the QMJHL season he returned for three final games with the team before the Sabres season came to a close as well. He was sent down to Rochester for the first time to play the Marlies in the playoffs.
Key Stat: Sabres fans learned that how much they'd be seeing of Grigorenko was surely on a game-to-game basis. His ice time was all over the place depending on how Lindy/Rolston felt he was playing. This ranged from 4 minutes and 51 seconds to 17 minutes and 10 seconds.
Thumbs Up: Grigorenko was able to get NHL experience under his belt, even though he struggled in his first season. Only a year after being drafted, he is still very young but has shown some flickers of greatness, especially by flashing his sweet passing skills every now and then.
Thumbs Down: Grigorenko just didn't seem ready to be in the NHL just yet and at many times looked rather lost. Even at the AHL level for the two playoff games he played in he wasn't on his game, where he scored zero points. Only one goal through 25 games was hardly what the Sabres envisioned for Mikhail's first season.
He spent much of his time in Buffalo working on his skating, even taking games off now and then so he could undergo more intense training under the eyes of Ron Rolston and his assistants. How he responds to that training next season will go a long way to determining his NHL fate.
Using the good old grade school system of A, B, C, D, F, with a A representing a great season, C an average season, and F a very poor season, grade Mikhail Grigorenko on his performance this year according to the expectations you had for him.