According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the Mikhail Grigorenko Sabres saga could soon be coming to an end. The current Sabre could be heading back to his home country of Russia.
"There has since been talk Grigorenko will opt to return home to Russia and take a more lucrative offer in the KHL rather than contest for a spot on the Sabres on a two-way contract next season," wrote McKenzie in an article filled with NHL information.
Grigorenko is finishing his three-year entry-level contract this summer and is currently a restricted free agent. McKenzie writes that the Sabres are not interested in giving him a one-way contract.
The tale of Grigorenko could be one of terrible mismanagement on the part of the Sabres. When he was drafted, he was heralded as a star player, one who was in the top five forwards at the midway mark for Central Scouting. He made the roster immediately, which could have irked some players in the locker room. There have been rumblings for years that teammates felt he was getting unearned time.
He played 25 games his rookie season before being sent back to the Quebec Ramparts, burning the first year of his deal. He seemed consistently stuck in limbo, too good for juniors but not good enough for the NHL just yet.
This season he was able to play for the Rochester Americans for the first time, and had a decent season. He scored 14 goals and 22 assists in 43 games.
Where he fits on next year's roster is a bit tough to find out. He could simply be a trade chip at this point. Jack Eichel, Zemgus Girgensons and Sam Reinhart are now all ahead of him on the center depth chart. In 68 career NHL games he has scored six goals and eight assists.
For Grigorenko, this could be a move to create leverage against the Sabres for a possible new contract or trade. He could also be actually interested in returning to Russia, despite coming to North America early to play junior hockey, and on numerous occasions saying that his dream was to play in the NHL, not the KHL.