The Buffalo Sabers select Mikhail Grigorenko 12th overall.
Here’s the skinny on Grigorenko:
Grigorenko is a player with high-end potential. He has some of the best puck-handling skills in the entire draft and his vision is elite. He dissects the play better than everyone else in the Q this year. He controls the game very well and is a lethal playmaker on the powerplay. He has a strong release on an NHL quality shot and often finds open space in the offensive zone. His mobility is above average, with a strong top speed and quick fluid feet, but his acceleration could use some improvement. His vision on the ice is extraordinary, possibly his best asset; he can make plays that few NHLers can. He seems to see the offensive plays develop a step or two before everyone else and is able to find the open player through heavy traffic or even from behind his back with a perfectly timed pass. His puck protection is very good and it isn’t easy to steal the puck away from him because of his long reach. He does not shy away from using his body to protect the puck while maintaining possession in the offensive zone. A lot of his play seems natural and effortless.
Here’s what one of our scouts had to say:
“A boom or bust type who has the potential to be a top line franchise centre with his vision and playmaking skill or a third line coach killer with his work ethic and consistency. His playoff play, specifically in Halifax, left much to be desired and will likely factor into the minds of NHL teams in Pittsburgh.”