Interim Buffalo Sabres coach Ted Nolan said he had no inkling 19-year-old prospect Mikhail Grigorenko would refuse his assignment to the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts.
“Players will be disappointed when things like that happen,” Nolan said Sunday in Washington prior to the Sabres’ 2-1 shootout win against the Capitals. “But no indication that he wouldn’t report.”
The Sabres sent the Russian center, a frequent healthy scratch, back to junior Saturday.
Nolan said general manager Tim Murray and president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine are handling the situation.
“You learn what you can control and what you can’t control,” Nolan said.
Nolan said Grigorenko, a superstar with the Remparts, can still develop in junior hockey.
“I come from the junior background,” said Nolan, a junior coach seven seasons. “(Montreal defenseman) P.K. Subban played four years in Belleville, I think. He turned out pretty good. There’s different leagues for different players. Some guys turn out better playing college hockey. Some guys turn out better playing junior hockey.
“It’s just one of those situations where whatever’s a good fit. But junior hockey’s a good place to develop.”
Grigorenko has deleted a Facebook message about the situation he wrote Saturday.
The Sabres and USA Hockey plan a “major announcement” Tuesday at the First Niagara Center.