Mikhail Grigorenko really had only one option for his immediate future. After two days of discussions, the Sabres’ prospect is taking it. The center decided late Sunday night he will accept Buffalo’s decision to return him to junior hockey. Grigorenko’s acceptance ended a 30-hour stalemate in which his future was unclear. The 19-year-old feels he belongs in the NHL and was disappointed when Sabres management felt otherwise. The Sabres assigned him to the Quebec Remparts on Saturday, and he and agent Jay Grossman rejected the move. They came around after talks with the Sabres’ brass. “We had some real serious concerns about the development process for this player that I think were warranted,” Grossman said by phone late Sunday. “Going down to Quebec, he’ll play for his seventh coach in one calendar year. I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced that. “So we wanted to look at this a lot more carefully with the Sabres and make sure that with respect to his development that we were all on the same page and moving collectively in the right direction.” Grigorenko has been caught in a whirlwind of teams and assignments since Buffalo decided to bring him up last season. He didn’t stay long and has since played in Quebec, Rochester, Buffalo and Russia multiple times with the country’s world junior team. He hasn’t been given a chance to show his skills on an NHL scoring line, and he also hasn’t shown he deserves the chance. He’ll get the opportunity to again dominate in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. “Junior hockey’s a good place to develop,” said Sabres coach Ted Nolan, who made his name in the Ontario Hockey League. “I know P.K. Subban played four years in Belleville. He turned out pretty good.” While Grigorenko feels he belongs in the NHL after playing 43 games at the top level, learning opportunities remain during a player’s final season of junior hockey.
Sabres’ Grigorenko changes mind, will go to Quebec
Buffalo News | Jan 13