If anyone will give Mikhail Grigorenko the benefit of the doubt, it’s Patrick Roy.
The fiery Colorado Avalanche head coach was Grigorenko’s bench boss with the QMJHL’s Quebec Ramparts in 2011-12 and 2012-13, his best days with that team. The 2011-12 campaign stands out in particular: 85 points in 59 games, a run that likely inspired the Buffalo Sabres to select him 12th overall in the 2012 NHL Draft.
With that in mind, it’s not too surprising that the 21-year-old told the Denver Post that he’s thrilled to play for Roy again, this time with the Avs.
“I can’t wait for the opportunity to have him as a coach again,” Grigorenko said. “I had my best years in Quebec and it was great having Patrick as a coach. He was great to me and taught me a lot of things on and off the ice. I can’t thank him enough for what he’s done for me already, and I can’t wait to have him as a coach again.”
He’s going to a place where his coach could vouch for him, which stands in contrast to Buffalo, where people wondered why Grigorenko was “afraid” of signing a two-way deal and former head coach Ted Nolan slammed his efforts as “lackadaisical.”
While some will judge Grigorenko as part of the Ryan O’Reilly trade package, his cheap contract strengthens the argument that the Avalanche are making a low-risk move here. If optimism makes any difference, Roy may very well help Colorado strike quite the bargain.