I have yet to see him play but his stats and minutes are indicating that he's clearly not ready for the NHL (shouldn't really be a surprise as Roy indicated he'd be well served to finish out another year in Junior). He was down to 6 1/2 min last night with almost zero PP time. I'm guessing the Grigs experiment is over for the year?
Any thoughts from those who have seen him?
I'll admit I've never been as high on the kid as many seem.....not even close really but I am curious to hear what others think after seeing him line up against NHLers.
I've watched a few of his games this year, though not all. In those, he's had his moments of flashing what he can do, being strong with the puck on his stick, taking a first quick step to the slot/net and separating from defenders in doing so, etc.
But plenty of other times he's looked a bit timid. I think it is taking him some time to adjust to the speed and size of the NHL game and its players. He quite obviously doesn't have the size and speed advantage put there that he does in juniors ... And I think it's showing a bit in terms of him being a little hesitant, over thinking, and ultimately trying to not make a mistake rather than affirmatively make a play on many shifts.
That said, I actually think he COULD play in the league this season if he was properly supported by the coaching staff and allowed to play his game and learn from his mistakes. That's not Ruff's way though, as evidenced now by him playing 4th line minutes and getting practically zero PP time. That is detrimental to Grigorenko -- he just isn't and will never be a grinder.
As a Sabres fan, I think it signals that he'll be heading back down.
Thanks for that, seems like a fairly objective assesment from a confesed Buffalo fan.
Originally Posted by BlueGold
Your oberservation that Grigs looks timid is interesting because that is exactly what I thought I might hear and exactly what keeps my opinion of him so low. It's strange to me that a big body with his skill has 8 PIM on the year. He has none in the NHL and a total of 12 in a full season last year. This is a big kid we're talking about here, he should be taking more penalties than that off of marginal, roughing types of calls but he just hasn't shown any sandpaper to his game ever and seems to avoid contact at all costs. He seems to have Jagr esque skills without any of the drive that made Jagr a superstar. If you look back over Jagr's stats you'll find he averaged about 60 PIM's a year, those numbers are indicative of a large player who leveraged his size and speed to drive the net, work pucks out of the corners and generally use his size to his advantage while fighting off contact.
Buffalo has got to find a way to light a fire under this kid if he has any chance of living up to his potential....I'm convinced this is one of the last traits any organization want's to try to 'teach' a player....thus the perceived slip in the draft rankings.
I agree with BlueGold. After watching a few Sabres games, my guess is he heads back to junior and comes back with a vengeance next year like many prospects after their first "multi-game tryout". I think he just needs to adjust to the pro game. He certainly has shown he has skill.
I think this is a poor analysis of his game, tbh. Just because he's not a physical player racking up PIM because of his size, does not mean he's not playing with passion. It just isn't his game, he's not the first skilled player to post low PIM numbers.
Originally Posted by 4horsemen
He actually good on the boards, and uses his size to his advantage there. The fact that he doesn't take a lot of PIM is actually kind of impressive. You use Jagr's PIM as a comparable, but how many of those 60 per year were actually roughing type penalties? And how many were lazy hooking/holding penalties in the defensive zone because Jagr couldn't be bothered to actually play defense?
The coaching staff in Buffalo still likes Grigo, but I think it's clear they're leaning towards sending him back. That's not a failure on Grigo's part he's 18 years old, it's just how it is. He's shown flashes in his time with the Sabres and that's the important thing right now. I would expect him back next season, and he'll be there to stay.
I didn't really analyse his game any further than pointing out he clearly doesnt' play with any grit....do you disagree? If not then where is my analysis lacking?
Originally Posted by Fast Tony DeNiro
The reason red flags are raised for me is that I feel his game might be altered once he makes the jump from Junior (where he is a big player with no grit) to playing against the hardest hitting, grittiest players in the world in the NHL.
I'm not saying it can't be done, Marleau and Kopitar come to mind as two bigger players who's game translated to the NHL without any real sandpaper to their play but I consider players like this the exception not the rule. Most players who have used their size to their advantage to become successful in the NHL do take PIM's (forget Jagr is you don't think he's a good comparable just look at most all other larger players who've had success at the NHL level).
I think what he was trying to point out is there is no direct correlation saying PIM = PTS + success in the league long term. in fact with most of the fights coming from guys like orr, dorsett, etc this season and minor tripping, hooking, and maybe the odd boarding call going to skill players, then i would argue coaches more then ever want a distinct list of guys to fight on a normal basis, the rest stay out of the box if you can help it. PIM's = no success and only goals scored on your team and or stress on the rest of your team for your mistake (whether big or large you as a player when you step into the box are hurting your team.)
Like mentioned above by others PIM do not mean you are tough. you could crash the boards and never take a penalty if your careful and just use your size without actually nailing the guy with a big hit. from what i have heard grigs can be a genius in the puck protection game when he's dialed in, and when that happens he draws multiple defenders much in the way malkin can do with his puck protection game. that right there coming from scouts as a comparison in my books puts my mind at ease over his physical play. you can always teach him to hit more throughout his career, but he wasnt drafted for sandpaper, and most guys in the first 2 rds arent. tom wilson is an exception not the rule. besides the sabres have ott, kaleta, scott, and girgensons on the way, why would they try to make one of the most skilled players on the team into a PIM machine? so they cant use him on the PP?
the above poster was trying imo to say that PIM can never be a justifiable reason for a hockey player turning out good or bad. everyone has their own style and its seldom the sandpaper approach that leads to goals in the net. you have guys like ott for that. Just because other larger guys take PIM doesn't mean that its what made them successful, if they are using their size truly to their advantage then they wouldnt be taking hooking penalties, tripping, slashing, etc it would always be boarding or roughing calls, and i hardly can think of a skilled player who regularly takes this kind of penalty game in and out who is successful in the NHL due to this reason. Their may be a few im too tired and dont have the time on my hands to go look, and no lucic is not a skilled guy, im talking non-powerforward style players who have skill and size, so iginla is out of the equation as well.
hell most fantasy leagues are phasing out PIM as a cat for hits b.c its an unpredictable stat game to game (smid got like 23 mins in a single game this season) and its really a negative stat like i said before. what coach in his right mind wants malkin to go off the ice for a penalty to put the other team up on the PP every game or every other? none, would they appreciate seeing malkin go out every handful of games and take a good boarding penalty where he just creams the guy? yeah probably, but that just shows a bit of heart, its different for highly skilled guys. they want their skilled guys to DRAW penalties, capitalize on the PP, and be ready to generate the offense. those bottom 6 guys with hands of concrete arent gonna do the scoring, so someone has to right? After all what wins a hockey game again.... oh thats right goals :) not taking penalties. If you had focused not on PIM and more on hits as a stat, i think i may support you a bit more, as i noticed skilled bigger bodies like malkin and kopitar tend to hit just under a hit/gm. That is also why hits are a better measure, hell OV hits a ton but doesnt take a ton of PIM, now thats something you would want to see, a good clean hit and then a goal from that guy. Just cause they take PIM does not mean they are good PIM, mostly lazy penalties.
Just an update on Ruff's frame of mind following yesterday's practice (as reported in the Buffalo News):
"The Grigorenko question is a daily one in Sabreland. Ruff gave it a new twist Saturday by admitting he probably erred by playing the rookie on the fourth line with John Scott and Nathan Gerbe in Friday’s game. The coach said he was trying to get a better matchup against Carolina center Eric Staal and it left Grigorenko on the outside looking in.
“It’s like burning a game,” Ruff said forlornly. “For the most part, having the Hecht line against Staal was working pretty good for us. Ninety percent of the time, we wanted a tougher guy on faceoffs against him. Then I got to a point where [Grigorenko] hadn’t played for so long, I didn’t think it was fair to throw him in a tough situation. Your legs aren’t going and I burned up a game really is what I did.”
Ruff said he didn’t want to make the same mistake today and that’s why scratching Grigorenko might be a choice."
“I like where this kid is going,” Ruff said. “I like where his game has been. Even his early shifts [Friday] I thought were good shifts. They had the makings of doing something good. That part and where the game plan ended up was tough on him.”
Interesting points but you've missed my point. I'm not saying that PIM's are in and of themselves a desirable stat. I'm saying that most big or even bigish forwards who succeed in the NHL take their fair share of them as part of doing business in a physical game. I'm not taling about Tom Wilson type players, I'm talking about everyone from the #1 pick on down.
Originally Posted by Kwazzie
Lets look at last years draft class of forwards:
Yakupov took 71 PIMs in his first year of junior and followed that up with 30 in his 2nd shortened season and had 33 in the KHL this year. That shows a bit of sandpaper!
Galy took 52 PIMs in his first year of junior and had 22 in junior so far this season. That once again shows a bit of sandpaper.
Forsberg took 33 PIM's in his 11-12 season. Kids got a bit of grit
Faksa took 47 in his first year of junior.
The first comparable I find for Grigs is Teravainen.....5'10" 185....make of that what you will but for me it's a red flag. Who knows maybe he's the next RNH...oh wait even he had 51 in his last year of Junior (although he's mostly managed to stay out of the bin in the NHL). Keep going through the 2011 draft class and you'll find Hubs, Landeskog, Strome, etc....it's still hard to find anyone who has taken anywhere near as few penalties as Grigs. Maybe he's some sort of brilliant saint on the ice but I don't like big players who don't bring a more physical element to the NHL because I'm always doubtful they can succeed.
Much to my surprise given the way the Sabres typically operate, but here you go (from the Buffalo News):
"Darcy Regier has just announced Mikhail Grigorenko is staying the rest of the season. Regier said Grigorenko, the team's No. 1 pick last June and the 12th overall, will be in the lineup tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It will be Grigorenko's sixth game of the season, meaning his entry-level contract kicks in and he will not return to the Quebec Remparts. He will make a pro-rated $925,000 this season."
Yeah buddy! Now get this kid some quality linemates and icetime!
He should be in the AHL. Too bad.