BUFFALO – Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy called talking about struggling Sabres prospect Mikhail Grigorenko “a touchy subject.”
“I haven’t seen too many games,” Roy, who had the 19-year-old two junior seasons, said this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center. “It would be very unfair by me to make some comments on it.”
But having coached Grigorenko 114 games with the Quebec Remparts, Roy might know the Russian better than anyone in North America.
So far, 32 games into his NHL career, Grigorenko has one goal and five points. He’s pointless in seven appearances this year and has been a healthy scratch twice.
“I watched last year a few games because I was coaching him in junior and I was hoping he’d be coming back,” Roy said. “This year, quite frankly, it would be unfair by me to make any statement, for their coaching staff and for Grigo as well. But, the big picture, I am surprised to see that he has only one goal because he’s got so much talent.”
Roy said Grigorenko, the 12th overall pick in 2012, was “good” mentally when the Sabres returned him to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in March.
Then Roy mentioned Grigorenko’s compete level, almost sounding like Sabres coach Ron Rolston.
“The area we were trying to work hard with Grigo was the compete level,” Roy said. “In my opinion, he was losing too many battles. At times, Grigo thought he was working hard. But when you’re watching the clips he was not. Obviously, we were trying to break that down. But that’s all I can say.”