When the Sabres drafted high-profile Russian center Mikhail Grigorenko it was a common belief that he was NHL ready.
Sabres Director of Scouting Kevin Devine said it, Darcy Regeir said he had a chance to make it, and even Grigorenko himself stated that he felt he was good enough for the NHL during his post draft interview.
The team immediately began talking contract with Grigorenko and his agent after the draft, and Regier upgraded the situation Thursday after the team’s clue and gold scrimmage at First Niagara Center.
“They’ve continued,” said Regier. “We started them, they continue, and we’ll see where they go.”
This week Grigorenko has said that is only focus and expectation for this season was to make the NHL. However, to do so he needs to improve in a few areas, one of which being his strength.
“I started to train two weeks ago here (in Buffalo),” he said. “I’ve got a few pounds. I’m getting stronger, and I feel more comfortable against big guys now.”
For Head Coach Lindy Ruff to put Grigorenko on the final roster come Fall, he needs to see a few things out of the Russian playmaker.
“Physically, whether he can handle it. Defensively, whether he can play a prominent enough role. Offensively, whether he can get it done. You know, all areas of the game,” said Ruff.
“He’s got really good hands, it’s just whether he can handle the heavy load up here.”