Mikhail Grigorenko: What Can Colorado Avalanche Fans Expect?


If I’m singing then everyone is singing, and Mikhail Grigorenko happens to be singing: “Reunited and it feels so good”!

This statement applies to many things in life, yeah? For me, it applies to the fact that my feet are once again touching Colorado soil after an extended study abroad in New Zealand, and I know that hockey is just around the corner. However, for Mikhail Grigorenko, it means being reunited with his junior coach in the QMJHL, Sir Patrick Roy.

There have been a bevy of articles released that quote Grigorenko and his excitement to be playing with Roy again, but I’ll only link to one.

I’m here to take it to the next step, sure let’s all get amped that Grigs is going to be playing with Roy again, but what does this reunion really mean for the Avalanche? What sort of play can we expect from Grigorenko? Is a different coach – albeit the one he spent his most successful seasons with – really going to help him take his game to the next level?

I’m going to silence the questions with an unconfirmed result. Grigorenko will have a breakout season for Colorado, and here are the reasons why: Avalanche management showed confidence in Grigs by signing him to a one-way contract. Furthermore, this contract is only for one season so it puts pressure on him to prove that he is capable of playing at this level. And – in finality – Roy is coaching him again so he can expect a bit of familiarity and harken back to his days of domination under the tutelage of Sir Patrick.

But, let’s go into detail a bit.

One-Way Contract

Grigorenko is definitely not a bust yet — he’s young (21 years old), and he was drafted 12th overall. Buffalo just gave up on him because he was not willing to sign a two-way contract. And, I don’t blame him because he was drafted 12th overall for a reason. Everyone needs a confidence booster in life at some point, and pro-athletes are no different. So, the Colorado Avalanche made a good move giving him a one-way contract because it instills confidence in his abilities and ensures that they believe he belongs at the most elite level. Hopefully Grigorenko will take this to heart and play to match his one-year contract, earning himself a longer one.

One-Year Contract

The one-year contract reportedly for 675,000 is a great signing by the Avalanche for many different reasons. First, they sign an elite prospect for under $1 million which is a grand business maneuver. Secondly, management is not committing to an unproven player for an exorbitant price like they have done recently with many of their contracts, Brad Stuart and Reto Berra come to mind first. But, most importantly, they ignite a fire beneath Grigorenko’s hockey shorts, essentially telling him that his moment is now. The message is clear — go and seize the opportunity, and prove that you deserve a longer and more lucrative contract, or resign yourself to the AHL for a few more years.

I think that the one-way contract is very important in this deal, but the most important aspect of it is certainly the fact that Avalanche management is giving Grigorenko one year to prove his mettle. This, in turn will culminate with a player who feels confidence, yet pressure to succeed and prove his worth, especially now that he is reunited with Patrick Roy.

Take Me Under Your Wing Good Sir Because I’m Ready to Fly

Obviously, a good mentor can change the path anyone takes because confidence stems from many different outlets besides one’s own. An individual cannot hope to live solely on their own merit, maybe they can exist, but life takes an array of elements in order to tread successfully. Life at the NHL level is no different, folks — Grigorenko has not had the necessary support and confidence from his peers and coaches. He was surrounded by young guns trying to make their mark just the same as him in Buffalo. Yet coaches and management had little faith in his abilities, or at least not enough to help him cultivate his potential.

Organizations do not let go of young prospects unless they think their talent is incapable of matching their potential. So, Buffalo had obviously reached their end here. Perhaps they rushed Grigorenko into the big leagues out of a desire to be relevant again, or perhaps he did not meld well with the locker room and coaches. However, the atmosphere has changed, and Grigorenko now has an opportunity to reinvent his short mark on the NHL with a different mold. One that has him surrounded by his coach from juniors, Patrick Roy, hockey idols in Joe Sakic, and Adam Foote, along with young players who have taken the steps necessary to becoming elite NHL icemen.

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A change of scenery will do wonders for Grigorenko and may even result in a breakout season for the young man. Ultimately, Avalanche fans should be nothing but excited for his debut because it comes at a cheap price with an expensive talent.

However, to each their own is what I always say, so what does the Avalanche nation think? Will Grigorenko finally grab the destiny he has sought and establish himself as an elite NHL forward, or will his 2015-16 season be another bust? Can Patrick Roy really make that much of a difference?

Let us know in the comments folks, and enjoy your day.

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Next: Mikhail Grigorenko: Get to Know the Young-Gun

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