Avalanche 3rd Line Center: Who Will it Be?

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Mikhail Grigorenko

Sep 21, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Mikhail Grigorenko (25) waits for a face-off against the Toronto Maple Leafs at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Last year’s team: Buffalo Sabres
Shoots: Left
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 209 pounds
Age: 21


25 3 3 6 2 46.2

Mikhail Grigorenko is the wild card of this group. He has the potential to be even a top-six forward, but he’s still unproven. Grigorenko, by the way, is the biggest player on this list — youngest, too.

Mikhail Grigorenko is typically European — highly skilled. He has soft hands and an accurate shot. He’s especially well-known for threading his passes. He has so much potential to break out in scoring.

Unfortunately, thus far it’s just that — potential. Grigorenko’s development and career were mishandled by the Buffalo Sabres. The team never instilled him with any confidence. They also put him on some low-producing lines. As you can imagine, a low-producing line from the Buffalo Sabres is like an especially cold winter from Grigorenko’s native Russia.

I suspect Grigorenko will, indeed, play on the third line. I think he’ll start out as Mitchell’s winger but also earn himself a few faceoffs. If he gets good at faceoffs — much better than last season’s 46.2% — coach Roy may let him take over more of the centering duties. I think it’s Mitchell’s job to lose, though.

Mikhail Grigorenko in action: