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Year-End Review: Mikhail Grigorenko

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Depending on who's work you were reading last summer Grigo was either a major piece or another throw-in for the Ryan O'Reilly trade. As it turns out he was the one component that had a lasting effect on the 2016 Avs roster. After 3 years of baffling misuse by the Sabres organization, the 12th pick in the 2012 draft returned to his old coach from the QMJHL and began the process of true NHL development.

Prior to joining the Avs, Grigorenko bounced around the NHL, AHL & QMJHL for 3 years with the net result of a wasted ELC totaling 68 games in the NHL and 6 goals & 8 assists to show for it. Coach Roy brought him along slowly at first, mainly 4th line center duties, until injuries gave him an opportunity with the top 6 and he responded with a 3 point night in Montreal and a couple weeks of good productivity. Then it was back to the 4th for most of December and January until more injuries put him back with the skill guys and he never looked back.

Final tally for the year: 6G/21A, good enough for 7th among Avs forwards, and 84 SOG in 74 games played. He ended up middle of the pack with a barely positive Corsi Relative of 0.09% or 43.98% straight up. His P/60 (which I hate, but it makes a good point here) at even strength and score adjusted was 4th on the team minus the deadline guys. He's good.

MHH Survey Grade: 75.2%

Even though he doubled his career NHL productivity all he could garner was a gentlemen's "C" from the MHH faithful. Tough crowd. I like the way the staff brought him along slowly and we have reports that he spent a lot of time after practice with Coach Army working on his fundamentals. The guy wants to get better and better and it's easy to forget that he's only 22 with plenty of upside left.

Just as last year when he signed a 1-year deal for $675k, he will be an RFA again. I'd love to see the Avs do something a little longer in term at a low price and perhaps get some big value for a few years. You get a guy like Grigorenko scoring 40+ points but paid like 25-30 points and you've saved enough for an upgrade or two elsewhere.

MHH Staff Grade: B

He may not have started out that way, but he ended up one of Colorado's most effective forwards. Maybe my expectations were low but I thought it was even money he would break 20 points for the season. He did that and more while being very solid defensively as well.