BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Mikhail Grigorenko is just 18 years old, but the Buffalo Sabres will give him a chance to earn an NHL roster spot this season.
Drafted 12th overall in Friday's NHL Entry Draft, Grigorenko has the skill set and size the Sabres were looking for at the center position.
"He's six-foot-three, he's got a big wingspan, a long reach," said Kevin Devine, the Sabres' Director of Amateur Scouting. "He skates very well. For a big man, he's very agile, can turn on a dime."
This is a situation Buffalo has been through before, when Tyler Myers came in and played right away after being drafted in the first round.
"When that happens, as it's happened in the past with someone like Tyler Myers, it's a bonus, you recognize it," said General Manager Darcy Regier. "They get an opportunity to play, but it's not something you want to fully have to count on."
Regier says he plans to open contract negotiations with Grigorenko's agent in the near future. On the flip side, the Sabres' GM says he has not decided which direction they will go with the team's other first-round pick, Zemgus Girgenson. Girgenson has committed to the University of Vermont.
Free agency begins next week in the NHL, and Regier says he will be active in trying to improve the team - whether it is in free agency or through a trade.
WHEN THAT HAPPENS, AS IT'S HAPPENED IN THE PAST WITH SOMEONE LIKE TYLER MYERS, IT'S A BONUS, YOU RECOGNIZE IT. THEY GET AN OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY, BUT IT'S NOT SOMETHING YOU WANT TO FULLY HAVE TO COUNT ON