Mikhail Grigrenko’s development process has been a bumpy one, to say the least. In fact, it sounds like there’s some reason to believe that it will continue with a KHL team rather than in the Buffalo Sabres’ system.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that the Sabres told Grigorenko that they’d like to sign the RFA, but there’s a sticking point; Buffalo may prefer to give him a two-way deal rather than a one-way contract.
Theoretically, an offer from a KHL team could potentially be difficult to refuse because a) there’s a chance he could make a lot more money and b) he may face an easier road to significant playing time. (With a two-way deal, he’d be fighting to merely land a roster spot with the Sabres, and may instead linger in the AHL.)
Notice this phrasing from McKenzie before panicking too much, though:
The Buffalo Sabres are waiting to see if there’s validity to the speculation that soon-to-be restricted free agent Mikhail Grigorenko is signing a contract in the KHL.
In other words, it isn’t a guarantee that he’d consider (or is weighing) any KHL offers. Still, it’s difficult to argue against the potential of a better and more lucrative opportunity, although the offense-starved Sabres could always fork over a one-way deal after all.
At least one Sabres observer points to a silver lining if he does go overseas:
There’s also the possibility of an everyone wins scenario. Perhaps the 21-year-old would enjoy some confidence-boosting development in the KHL and then return to Buffalo a more finished product?
It’s plausible that there’s serious light at the end of the tunnel, even if with some bumps in the road. Either way, it’s an interesting situation to watch during an important summer for the Sabres.