Team Russia got a major boost to their squad for the World Junior Championship as the Buffalo Sabres will release centre Mikhail Grigorenko to play for the team in this year’s tournament, being held in Malmo, Sweden.
The Sabres have been struggling to find a place to put Grigorenko in the lineup this year. They have already burned a second year on his Entry-Level-Contract as he has played more than the nine-game limit. This is in addition to burning a year on his contract in 2012-13, meaning that Grigorenko will be a restricted free agent after next season.
However, that doesn’t stop the Sabres from sending him back to the Quebec Remparts in the QMJHL, but they have seemed reluctant to make such a move. If sent back to the QMJHL, Grigorenko could not be recalled to Buffalo unless there was an emergency injury situation, or his team was eliminated from the playoffs.
Still, the Sabres tried to send Grigorenko to the AHL last week, but the NHL rejected the move, saying that the transaction did not qualify as a conditioning stint for an injured player and that the Sabres could not circumvent the NHL/AHL transfer agreement in this way.
Grigorenko, the 12th overall pick of the Sabres in the 2012 NHL Entry draft, has two goals and one assist in 18 games for the Sabres this season.
Despite all of those NHL struggles, Grigorenko can still look like a man amongst boys at the junior level and should be one of the offensive stars of this tournament. He should immediately slide into Russia’s top line, and makes the team that won a Bronze Medal last year, and gave Canada fits despite losing the Super Series last month, another powerful offensive weapon for the annual holiday tournament.
Two weeks ago the Buffalo Sabres sent Russian Defenceman Nikita Zadorov down to the London Knights also making him eligible to play in the tournament.
Thanks for reading. Please give our Hockey Department a follow on Twitter – @lastwordBKerr, @RickW10, @TheHockeyMitch, @LastWordBigMick, @crimsonskorpion, @CMS_74_, @TwoTurtleDuffs, @d_rochi, @dasimonetta, @LWOSDanRussell, @ddmatthews, @CanuckPuckHead, @NKonarowski2, @LarryScotti, @PurpleRocktober, @jaynichols11, @meaghannn_, @LastWordOnNHL, and @darrinharmy and follow the site @lastwordonsport and like our Facebook Page.
Interested in writing for LastWordOnSports? If so, check out our “Join Our Team” page to find out how.