The Rolston era is upon us.

Mikhail Grigorenko's skills have been wowing teammates. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ruff waiting to determine Grigorenko’s roster status

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Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald

BUFFALO – Coach Lindy Ruff likely won’t reveal the Sabres’ plans for first-round pick Mikhail Grigorenko until Friday, when teams must have their rosters set by 3 p.m.

Still, questions about Grigorenko’s status will be asked all week.

So, Lindy, will he receive the five-game trial available for junior players?

“It’s too early to say,” Ruff said this afternoon following practice inside the First Niagara Center. “He had a good scrimmage (Monday). He had a good practice. Obviously, you like his hands. So far, his compete inside practice drills is good. His compete (Monday) was good. So there’s a lot of things to like about what he’s done so far.”

Ruff said the 18-year-old center has “come a long ways.”

“Even from a year ago,” he said. “I think even from the start of the year until now he’s grown as a player. There are two schools of thought with that. It’s put him in play or make sure that he’s ready.”

Steve Ott, Grigorenko’s linemate with Ville Leino, believes the Russian’s NHL ready.

“I think Sabres fans should be extremely excited about this kid,” the winger said. “Management, throughout, I think they know what they drafted in him. His presence … off the ice, he’s already got a man’s body at 18 years old. He comes out there with a skill set, the calmness, the characteristic of being a great center in this league.”

Ott saw Grigorenko’s skills the “first time I touched the puck with him.”

“I think that was fun for myself just to know this kid has a serious chance to make this team,” Ott said.

Having played with some terrific center over the years – Jamie Benn, Mike Modano, Pierre Turgeon and others – Ott speaks from experience.

“It’s fun to have that 18-year-old kid with the energy he’s bringing, his skill level, his size and the potential he has to be a superstar in this league someday,” Ott said. “It’s the building blocks that are starting right now.”

Related: Ruff wants Grigorenko’s play to force Sabres to keep him

All eyes on Sabres prospect Grigorenko as training camp begins

Sabres prospect Grigorenko to attend training camp

7 comments
  1. Mike says: 01.15.139:32 pm

    I would buy out Leino to make room for him!

  2. gdutton88 says: 01.15.139:33 pm

    let’s see how he plays in the NHL first, then decide after, personally I want to keep him, but don’t wanna burn a year off his contract

  3. DJ says: 01.15.139:41 pm

    He’s doing great in the Q right now. Leave him there and let him continue to grow for a couple months. No point in wasting a year of his contract on this half-season.

  4. Marc says: 01.15.1310:06 pm

    I’d say keep him up. We need his big body presence is great for Buffalo. Down the middle would be, Hodgson-Ennis-Grigorenko-Hecht. But you know Lindy and Darcy, they’ll send him down and yet again disappoint all the Sabres fans wanting to watch him play. With his skill, why put him back playing with kids? He’s NHL ready no doubt and will improve playing against higher skill leveled players.

  5. Alec says: 01.16.1312:01 am

    I agree with keeping him up. This short season is going to be a sprint the whole way with no marathon season to provide chances to make a comeback, and the Sabres need to put their best talent on the ice NOW. If after five games he doesn’t seem to be ready, then pull him and send him down, but I doubt that will happen. It was the right thing to do when they brought Myers up, and this is the right move too.

  6. brian says: 01.16.132:05 am

    Keeping him down serves no purpose for him. As seen he is dominating the Q. He needs to stay up because the sabres offense was stagnant last year. The sabres traded Roy and in doing so lost between 50-70 pts per season. They need this kids offense ability right away. He doesn’t need any time to grow what he needs is to be in a more competitive league. As shown the past couple seasons 18 year olds can come into the NHL and flourish should be no different with him. He was the best player in then scrimmage and created numerous chances understanding where the “soft” spot is in the defense is not taught. He’s more than ready for the NHL and should be very productive. His instincts are too good to be wasted somewhere other than top level hockey.

  7. Alec says: 01.16.132:45 am

    So, we are all in agreement then. Now, who’s going to tell Lindy of our decision.

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