The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed forward Mikhail Grigorenko to a one-year deal worth $1.2 million. The Russian centreman will join Columbus for the 2020-2021 season after three seasons in the KHL.
Mikhail Grigorenko Signs With the Blue Jackets
Over his 5-year NHL career, spanning the 2012-13 to 2016-17 seasons, Grigorenko has played for the Buffalo Sabres and Colorado Avalanche. In 217 NHL games, he has notched 22 goals and 42 assists for 64 career points. He was originally drafted in the 1st round, 12th overall by the Buffalo Sabres at the 2012 NHL Draft.
The 6’2”, 213-pound centre has come off of a highly encouraging season in terms of production. He tied for 11th in scoring and finished 17th in overall points among all Kontinental Hockey League skaters. Grigorenko scored 19 goals for CSKA Moscow in the KHL, a single-season career-high for the 25-year old centerman. Over the course of his KHL career, he has tallied 46 goals, 70 assists and 117 points in 147 games.
Grigorenko had a challenging stint in the NHL the first time around. He struggled with an abject Buffalo Sabres team in a bottom-six role which didn’t match his skill-level. He was then traded to the Colorado Avalanche team as part of the Ryan O’Reilly deal. While there, the Avalanche had one of the worst seasons in NHL history. He left the Avs in 2017 to join CSKA Moscow on a three-year deal.
What This Means for the Future
Grigorenko has been linked to a return to the NHL for some time now. There were murmurings that the Toronto Maple Leafs were interested in signing him after Kyle Dubas held talks with him last year. For the Blue Jackets, the acquisition is a low-risk, high reward play. While his NHL numbers don’t flatter him, his scoring rate has accelerated sharply over the last two years. He has averaged over 0.9 points a game in the KHL during that span. Blue Jackets GM, Jarmo Kekaleinen has made another savvy move here by addressing their depth issue down the middle and, more importantly, at low cost.
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