Avalanche GM Joe Sakic chose not to give Mikhail Grigorenko a qualifying offer after a 23-point showing in 75 games last season, making him an unrestricted free agent. The 23-year-old Russian then decided to return to his home country on a three-year deal with the KHL's CSKA Moscow, likely putting an end to his NHL career after five seasons. A first round selection of the Sabres back in 2012, he compiled 22 goals and 42 assists in 217 games between Buffalo and Colorado.
Grigorenko signed a three-year contract with CSKA of the KHL on Friday, John Vogl of The Buffalo News reports. This may be the last we see of the 12th overall pick from 2012, who busted out in Buffalo and never did much with a second chance in Colorado either. His best season saw him put up 27 points in 74 games with the Avs two campaigns ago, disappointing output for a player of his skill set.
Grigorenko wasn't extended a qualifying offer by the Avalanche and thus is set to become an unrestricted free agent Saturday, The Denver Post reports. Things haven't exactly gone swimmingly in Grigorenko's first two seasons in Denver, but he was at least able to top the 20-point plateau both times (50 points combined in 149 contests) for one of the league's worst teams. Given his pedigree as the 12th overall pick in 2012 and youth, the 23-year-old Russian will likely have several organizations interested in his services come July 1.
Grigorenko is a pending unrestricted free agent, which makes him available to the Golden Knights in the expansion draft on June 21, theScore reports. Since he hasn't been re-signed by the Avalanche, Grigorenko will be available to Vegas. Should the league's 31st team wish to select him, it has three days of exclusive negotiating rights before he becomes a full UFA on July 1. The fact that the struggling Avalanche didn't protect the 23-year-old isn't all that surprising based on his output (50 points in 149 games with the team), but is noteworthy based on his pedigree as the 12th overall draft selection by Buffalo in 2012.
Grigorenko scored his 10th goal of the season Tuesday against Chicago. It's hard to see where Grigorenko has improved this season even though it's the first time he's reached double-digit goals. He's a very talented player who needs a lot of work in many other aspects of the game, but like everyone else on the Avalanche, the Russian's struggled for most of the season. Until he figures out how to compete on a nightly basis and wins a bigger role, Grigorenko's fantasy value will remain minimal.
Grigorenko netted a pair of goals in Sunday's loss to Chicago. They were just the first points in eight games for Grigorenko, who has struggled to produce in a bottom-six role this season. He's only 22 years of age and his nine goals are a career high, so we wouldn't be too worried about him overall, especially given the team's struggles this season. Grigorenko showed Sunday what he's capable of, but with Colorado out of the playoffs and not playing meaningful hockey, it's hard to see him being of much value down the stretch.
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