Mikhail Grigorenko is back on his way to the bigs.
The Russian forward, Buffalo’s first-round pick (12th overall) at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, has been recalled to the Sabres from AHL Rochester, the club announced on Tuesday.
Also headed up from the Amerks are forwards Tim Schaller and Jerry D’Amigo.
The trio has been brought up to replace Brian Flynn, Torrey Mitchell and Chris Stewart, all three of whom were traded at Monday’s deadline. Between those departures and the injuries to Josh Gorges, Zemgus Girgensons and Patrick Kaleta (Evander Kane too, lest we forget), Buffalo will be icing a forward group that projects to look like this:
Matt Moulson-Tyler Ennis-Brian Gionta
Marcus Foligno-Mikhail Grigorenko-Cody Hodgson
Johan Larsson-Phil Varone-Zac Dalpe
Nicolas Deslauriers-Schaller-Matt Ellis
D’Amigo would be the 13th forward, presumably.
As for Grigorenko, most eyes will likely be on him as he gets another stint with the parent club. He’s been good in Rochester this year, scoring 31 points in 38 games, but only had one goal and one assist in 12 games with the Sabres earlier this year. His last NHL game came on Jan. 9.
Andrei Loktionov had shoulder surgery after suffering an injury at the IIHF World Championships and then found out toward the end of June that he’ll be an unrestricted free agent.
The Carolina Hurricanes didn’t give the 24-year-old center a qualifying offer, which is a development the club announced Monday, and that means Loktionov will hit the open market.
There were other notable restricted free agents that also didn’t get qualifying offers.
Cory Conacher and Jamie McBain of the Buffalo Sabres; Ryan White of the Montreal Canadiens; Keaton Ellerby, James Wright and Matt Halischuk of the Winnipeg Jets; Michael Del Zotto of the Nashville Predators; Jordan Schroeder and Zac Dalpe of the Vancouver Canucks; Mathieu Perreault of the Anaheim Ducks, although it’s a little more complicated then that; T.J. Galiardi and Paul Byron of the Calgary Flames;
One can excuse much of the hockey world for being a little bleary eyed during the time of the Tampa Bay Lightning – Vancouver Canucks game.
After all, it’s the only game of the night, with a late start. Some may be barely over the “results” of New Year’s Eve festivities. There’s also that 2014 Winter Classic that may leave some would-be onlookers groggy.
The game started in a yawn-inducing way, too, but hopefully fans didn’t doze off during a run of second period goals Wednesday night.
Bruce Richardson scored for Vancouver 11:25 into the middle frame, but things didn’t really pick up until four minutes later. Over a span of just more than 30 seconds, a 1-0 game turned into a 2-2 tie. Here are the goals in chronological order.
Valtteri Filppula made it 1-1 with a snapshot 15:27 into the period:
Twenty seconds later, Tyler Johnson gave Tampa Bay a fleeting 2-1 lead:
That lead only made persisted for 14 seconds, however, as Zac Dalpe scored his first goal of the season:
One can only imagine the lightning puns that were striking down on readers after that display.
Update: The Lightning ended up winning 4-2 on Wednesday. The Bolts ended a two-game skid, extending Vancouver’s losing streak to two in the process.
Winless in their last five — including Tuesday’s lamentable 3-2 shootout loss to Florida — and struggling badly to score goals, the Vancouver Canucks had some new forward lines yesterday at practice.
Chris Higgins – Henrik Sedin – Jannik Hansen
Daniel Sedin – Mike Santorelli – Ryan Kesler
Alex Burrows – Brad Richardson – Zack Kassian
Jeremy Welsh – Tom Sestito – Dale Weise
(Extras: David Booth and Zac Dalpe)
But there wasn’t a ton of thought given to the latest combinations, according to head coach John Tortorella. With just six goals scored in the last five games, the Canucks are just hoping something — anything — will work.
“We’re throwing it against the wall here a little bit and see what sticks,” said Tortorella, per The Province. “I’m being honest with you. I don’t like splitting up, and one thing I know that works is Santorelli and Higgins. But again, we haven’t scored and I’m not sure where it goes or how long it goes and we’ll see if we can find our way.”
Vancouver hasn’t played poorly the entire five-game winless stretch. The Canucks probably deserved a better fate in games versus San Jose and Dallas, but the Florida effort was different, with Tortorella calling it “easily our worst game of the year.”
Tonight, it’s the Columbus Blue Jackets paying a visit to Rogers Arena. Tomorrow, it’s the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Canucks are already six points back of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. They need to start winning some games.
“In the past, we didn’t look at the standings because we didn’t have to,” said captain Henrik Sedin. “Now, it’s so tough.”
Related: Booth needs to ‘make the same sort of effort everyone else is making,’ says Canucks GM
One of Vancouver’s two first-round picks from the 2013 draft will be sticking with the team, but it may not be the one you’re expecting.
The London Knights announced that ninth overall section Bo Horvat was re-assigned to their team by the Canucks. Horvat was not at today’s practice in Vancouver leading to speculation he was headed back. 26th overall pick Hunter Shinkaruk will be sticking around.
While the two players were both thought to be staying in Vancouver as recently as yesterday, plans may have changed for the Canucks after acquiring Zac Dalpe from the Carolina Hurricanes late last night.
According to Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun, Canucks GM Mike Gillis views Dalpe as a guy who can play at center, the same position Horvat plays. Shinkaruk, meanwhile, will at least get a nine-game peek to see what he can do. As a winger, there’s more flexibility to fit him into the lineup.