It's been a bit of a strange ride so for for Mikhail Grigorenko.
He was drafted 12th overall after playing under one Patrick Roy for the Quebec Remparts. The following season he played 25 games for the Sabres, picked up 5 points in 10:00 a night. He had 54 points in 33 games back with Quebec too, which started before the lockout ended and finished at the end of the year when he was sent back. But not til after burning the first season of his ELC. Good one Sabres.
The next season, 18 NHL games in, he was sent back to junior again, initially refused to report, but did eventually go. He also would pick up 14 games with AHL Rochester between the regular season and playoffs.
Last year Grigorenko split the year fairly evenly between Rochester and Buffalo. He had 6 points in 25 games with the historically bad Sabres and 36 points in 43 games for the Americans. AND he was a big contributor for Russia's bronze-medal WJC side, adding 8 points in 7 games.
Now he finds himself traded to Colorado. His awesomeness remains very much imaginary at this point, and there's a definite argument to be made that it's because he's been so mishandled by Sabres management. He has never had stability as a professional apart from his half-season in Rochester. So a completely new team and setting isn't that far out of the normal for him.
What does it mean for 2015?
This will be Grigorenko's 21-year-old season and hopefully his first full year at the NHL level. Where exactly he falls into the roster remains a mystery. He absolutely has scoring-line talent, he has torn up every amateur setting he's found himself in and did very well in the A, and if he's used in the Avs' top six, should benefit quite a bit from guys like Landeskog and Duchene. I would expect him to at least start the year on the third line, though, looking for either Tanguay or Iginla to fall off or injuries to take their toll to get an opportunity in a top trio.
With that sort of expectation, we can plan on Grigorenko contributing something like 30ish points as he hopefully gets a chance to acclimate to the NHL consistently. I've always expected good stuff from him, so actually being in a stable situation should help him quite a bit, even if it is usage as scoring depth.
But this is easily the toughest bet so far. (I'm not even mad at Bob this time, that one flows nicely.) What do you think Grigorenko will bring to the table?