Mikhail Grigorenko admitted to NHL.com that his first season with the Buffalo Sabres was rough, but he thinks things will be better in 2013-14.
His first goal is to stick with the Sabres next season after bouncing between the big club and the AHL last season while trying to prove himself to former coach Lindy Ruff and new bench boss Ron Rolston. Grigorenko also clearly knows what kind of role he’d like to avoid.
“Just to make the NHL and to hopefully have my spot on the power play, probably be the first- or second-line center, is my goal,” Grigorenko said. “To have 50 points would be great for me. If it’s 30, I’m not going to be sad. I don’t see myself as an AHL third-liner.”
GM Darcy Regier has stated that the 19-year-old will be a full-time NHL player, so Grigorenko has a good chance of shooting for those goals, whether he comes in closer to 30 or 50 points.
That will certainly require better production than 2013, when he managed just five points in 25 games.
Playing at such a young age – and having some rotten puck luck with just a 3.2 percent shooting efficiency – gives plenty of reason to believe that his sophomore season might be better than that shaky rookie campaign.