BUFFALO – The Sabres are “discussing all possibilities” to find 19-year-old prospect Mikhail Grigorenko playing time, interim coach Ted Nolan said.
That means the Sabres could loan the center, a healthy scratch the last two games, to Russia for the world junior championship later this month if he’s invited. He could also get sent back to the junior Quebec Remparts.
“We’re not 100 percent sure what we’re going to do,” Nolan said this afternoon following practice inside the First Niagara Center.
Nolan said Grigorenko, who’s sat five of the last eight games, has “got to be playing.”
“I’ve never seen a player develop not playing,” he said.
Grigorenko’s name wasn’t on a training camp roster Russia released for the tournament today. Defenseman Nikita Zadorov, a prospect the Sabres just set back to junior, earned an invite.
Grigorenko said he’s open to playing in the world juniors if Russia contacts him. He would discuss it with Nolan and Pat LaFontaine, the president of hockey operations.
“I think together we would’ve decided if I should go or not,” said Grigorenko, who represented Russia the last two years. “But for now, they didn’t contact me.”
Grigorenko added: “I think the Russians have a great chance to win the gold this year. I would’ve been happy to go.”
In other news, defenseman Alexander Sulzer (undisclosed) missed practice again today.
“We thought his injury was going to get a little bit better today, but another day to give us a rest,” Nolan said.
Nolan said Sulzer could play Thursday if he feels better Wednesday morning.