Buffalo Sabres Top 25 Under 25: #8 - Mikhail Grigorenko
After two years of moving all over the place, Grigorenko should be more settled in Rochester this season.
Weight: 209 lbs.
Acquired: Taken in the 1st round (12th overall) in the 2012 draft
Last year's ranking: 4
Forget the past two years happened. I know it's hard to do, but when you step back and look at the situation you realize it's far too early to give up on Grigorenko. You have a 20-year-old forward with a lot of size and wonderful playmaking ability.
There are many players from the 2012 draft that have yet to make much of an impact yet. Griffin Reinhart, taken seventh overall, has yet to see the NHL. Filip Forsberg, taken one pick ahead of Grigorenko, has been up and down between Nashville and Milwaukee.The fact that Grigorenko hasn't found is place yet isn't anything to panic about.
Grigorenko has lit up the high-scoring QMJHL, including last season. In his 23 games in juniors he scored 15 goals and 24 assists. But we know he can do that at the junior level. The question is whether or not he can translate that success to the big leagues.
In Rochester Grigorenko showed some good signs, despite failing to score a goal himself. In his nine games at the end of the season he totaled four assists and showed off his play making ability. It wasn't his scoring, it was his all-around game that had people turning their heads.
Holding back Grigorenko is his lackluster skating ability, something he really needs to work on if he wants to be a top six player in the NHL.
It's been discussed over and over again, Grigorenko should have been in Rochester the past two seasons. Now he finally can be, and that's where he'll likely be residing for a majority of this year. He is finally in the right place to develop. Now it's just a matter of him actually progressing.
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