Mikhail Grigorenko, 13th Forward
Sep 29, 2015; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman (6) is checked Colorado Avalanche center Mikhail Grigorenko (25) at Scotiabank Saddledome. Flames won 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
This decision caught me by surprise. However, it probably shouldn’t have. In five preseason games, Grigorenko got seven shots on goal and no goals or assists. If the Colorado Avalanche is a pure meritocracy, that’s not enough to make the opening night roster.
Remember, one of the things that Patrick Roy praises above all else is work ethic. It’s one thing if he thinks centers Matt Duchene or Nathan MacKinnon aren’t giving it their all — he might take them out of the power play or let them sit on the bench. Those players are the future of the Colorado Avalanche, though.
It’s quite another if he thinks someone who’s known for being lackluster in his work ethic isn’t giving it his all. Grigorenko is essentially on his own professional tryout, though he has an actual contract with the team. The party line has always been that he has to prove himself.
Some of the dissatisfaction from this decision has to do with the fact that the Buffalo Sabres mishandled his development thus far. The 21-year-old wasn’t given the tools to develop properly.
You can’t say the Colorado Avalanche don’t know how to develop young talent. They’ve had a lot of practice at it, and I can’t imagine anyone is going to say Matt Duchene’s, Ryan O’Reilly‘s, Gabriel Landeskog‘s or Nathan MacKinnon’s development has been hampered by the organization.
Well, pundits might — they’ll argue anything.