Mikhail Grigorenko

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Mikhail Grigorenko
Mikhail Grigorenko 2013-10-05.JPG
With the Sabres in 2013
Born (1994-05-16) May 16, 1994 (age 24)
Khabarovsk, Russia
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight 209 lb (95 kg; 14 st 13 lb)
Position Centre
Shoots Left
KHL team
Former teams
CSKA Moscow
Buffalo Sabres
Colorado Avalanche
National team  Russia
NHL Draft 12th overall, 2012
Buffalo Sabres
Playing career 2013–present

Mikhail Olegovich Grigorenko (Russian: Михаил Олегович Григоренко; born May 16, 1994) is a Russian professional ice hockey forward currently playing for CSKA Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).

Born and raised in Russia, Grigorenko moved to North America in 2011 and joined the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). After one season in Quebec, he was selected in the first round, 12th overall, in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft by the Buffalo Sabres. Grigorenko was also selected by CSKA Moscow in the first round, eighth overall, of the 2011 KHL Junior Draft.[1] He has previously played in the NHL with the Sabres and the Colorado Avalanche.

Playing career[edit]


Grigorenko first played competitive junior hockey in his native Russia with Krasnaya Armiya in the MHL, the junior team to CSKA Moscow. In the 2010–11 season, as a 16-year old, Grigorenko impressively showed an early offensive touch, contributing 17 goals and 35 points in 43 games.

In June 2011, Grigorenko was selected second overall in the CHL Import Draft by the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).[2] Hockey Hall of Famer Patrick Roy, the owner, general manager and head coach of the Remparts, liked Grigorenko so much he traded up in the Import Draft to select him.[3]

Grigorenko played 59 games with the Remparts during the 2011–12 season, his first in North America, and scored 40 goals and 45 assists for 85 points. He led all rookie players in the QMJHL in goals and points, and was second for assists to capture the Michel Bergeron Trophy. He also finished fifth overall in goals scored and was tied for eighth overall for points while playing the fewest games of any player who was in the top ten in points.[3] Earning selection to the All-Rookie and First All-Star Teams, on March 20, 2012, Grigorenko was also nominated and chosen as the top professional prospect to play in the QMJHL during 2011–12 with the Mike Bossy Trophy.[4]

Mikhail Grigorenko (25) in the center celebrating a goal with Quebec Remparts' teammates

As a top-rated forward prospect for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Grigorenko was selected in the first round, 12th overall, by the Buffalo Sabres. On July 18, 2012, he signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Sabres.[5] With the 2012–13 NHL lockout delaying the beginning of the NHL season, Grigorenko was reassigned to start the season back with the Remparts, where he played 32 games and recorded 50 points during the season prior to the lockout ending in January. At the time, he was leading the Remparts and was fifth in the QMJHL with 29 goals, and his 50 points were second on the team.[6]


Buffalo Sabres[edit]

When the lockout ended in January, Grigorenko was invited to the Sabres' training camp, where he made the roster for the start of the season.[7] After playing five games with the Sabres, the team opted to keep Grigorenko for the remainder of the season rather than send him back to the Remparts; had they done so, the season would not have counted as one year expired on his entry-level contract.[8] On January 29, Grigorenko scored his first career NHL goal, against James Reimer of the Toronto Maple Leafs, becoming the fifth-youngest Sabre to score in franchise history.[9]

After 22 games with the Sabres, where he recorded one goal and four assists, Grigorenko was reassigned to the Remparts on 15 March 2013.[10] Grigorenko went on to lead the Remparts in playoff scoring with 14 points in 11 games before being recalled by the Sabres on April 16.[11]

Grigorenko began the 2013–14 season with the Sabres. However, with the Sabres cleaning out the front office and coaching staff, and with an imperative to rely less on the youth from new head coach Ted Nolan, he was returned to junior after sporadically appearing in just 18 games on January 11, 2014.[12] He reported to the Remparts several days later after initially refusing to do so.[13] In his final junior season with the Remparts, Grigorenko dominated in his 23 appearances, collecting 15 goals and 39 points in the regular season. With an early post-season exit, Grigorenko was then assigned to Buffalo's American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Rochester Americans, to play out the remainder of the year.

In his first full professional year, Grigorenko split the 2014–15 season, between the Sabres and Rochester. Beginning the year with the Sabres, Grigorenko would be shuffled between the NHL and AHL on five separate occasions.[14] In 43 games with the Americans, Grigorenko continued to show his offensive promise in posting 14 goals and 36 points. He returned to complete the season with the Sabres, scoring 6 points in 25 games.

Colorado Avalanche[edit]

On June 26, 2015, at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, as an impending restricted free agent, Grigorenko was traded by the Sabres in a package that included Nikita Zadorov, J. T. Compher and the 31st pick in the draft to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Ryan O'Reilly and Jamie McGinn.[15] Grigorenko then signed to an initial one-year, one-way contract with the Avalanche on July 17.[16]

Grigorenko's arrival in Colorado marked a reunion with former junior coach and then head coach of the Avalanche, Patrick Roy. He made the Avalanche roster after his first training camp, opening the 2015–16 season. After being a healthy scratch for three games, Grigorenko made his Avalanche debut centering the fourth line, collecting an assist on a Jack Skille goal in a 3–0 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on October 16, 2015.[17] He continued with fourth-line duties until injury gave him an opportunity in a top-six scoring role. Grigorenko responded in recording his first goal for the Avalanche in a three-point night against the Montreal Canadiens on November 14, 2017. He compiled seven points in six contests on an East Coast road trip before he was returned to the fourth line. Grigorenko later secured a role on a scoring line through the midpoint of the year to play his first full season in the NHL, recording a career-high 6 goals and 27 points in 74 games.[18]

In the off-season, as a restricted free agent, Grigorenko originally filed for arbitration. However, ahead of his scheduled meeting, he agreed to a one-year, $1.3 million contract with the Avalanche on July 21, 2016.[19] With the surprise departure of head coach Patrick Roy, Grigorenko initially impressed incoming head coach Jared Bednar, leading the Avalanche in pre-season scoring.[20] However, in the 2016–17 season, he was unable to maintain his offensive production as a consistent scoring threat. While lacking the physicality for a lower depth role, Grigorenko (mainly playing on the wing) collected 10 goals for 23 points in 75 games for the cellar-dwelling Avalanche.

On June 26, 2017, Grigorenko was not tendered a qualifying contract by the Avalanche and became an unrestricted free agent.[21]

CSKA Moscow[edit]

As a free agent, Grigorenko garnered NHL interest however opted to return to Russia in agreeing to a three-year contract his original junior club, CSKA Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), on July 3, 2017.[22]

International play[edit]

Medal record
ice hockey
 Olympic Athletes from Russia
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2018 Pyeongchang
Representing  Russia
World Junior Championships
Silver medal – second place 2012 Canada
Bronze medal – third place 2013 Ufa
Bronze medal – third place 2014 Malmö
IIHF World U18 Championships
Bronze medal – third place 2011 Germany

Grigorenko first represented Russia as a 15-year old at the 2009 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament where Russia finished second. In an extensive international junior career with Russia, Grigorenko helped Russia to collect three successive medals at the World Junior Championships, with a Silver medal in Canada in 2012 followed by two Bronze medals in his native Russia in 2013 and Sweden in 2014.

In his first season of his return to Russia professionally, Grigorenko was selected and played as a member of the Olympic Athletes from Russia team at the 2018 Winter Olympics. He recored one goal and four points in six games to help claim the gold medal in an overtime victory over Germany.

Personal life[edit]

Grigorenko was born in Khabarovsk, located in the Russian Far East near the border of China. His older brother, Yuri, also played hockey, and spent five seasons in the minor leagues of both Russia and Belarus.[3]

In 2011, after being selected by the Remparts in the CHL Import Draft, Grigorenko moved to Quebec City with his mother and Yuri.[3] While he initially did not understand English, Grigorenko took classes five days a week with a Russian teacher and by the end of the season he was able to conduct interviews in English without the aid of a translator.[3]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2010–11 Krasnaya Armiya MHL 43 17 18 35 22 10 1 4 5 4
2011–12 Quebec Remparts QMJHL 59 40 45 85 12 11 3 7 10 4
2012–13 Quebec Remparts QMJHL 33 30 24 54 8 11 5 9 14 0
2012–13 Buffalo Sabres NHL 25 1 4 5 0
2012–13 Rochester Americans AHL 2 0 0 0 0
2013–14 Buffalo Sabres NHL 18 2 1 3 2
2013–14 Quebec Remparts QMJHL 23 15 24 39 6 5 1 8 9 6
2013–14 Rochester Americans AHL 9 0 4 4 0 5 0 0 0 2
2014–15 Rochester Americans AHL 43 14 22 36 27
2014–15 Buffalo Sabres NHL 25 3 3 6 2
2015–16 Colorado Avalanche NHL 74 6 21 27 8
2016–17 Colorado Avalanche NHL 75 10 13 23 18
2017–18 CSKA Moscow KHL 45 10 13 23 14 21 9 4 13 28
NHL totals 217 22 42 64 30
KHL totals 45 10 13 23 14 21 9 4 13 28


Year Team Event Result GP G A Pts PIM
2009 Russia IH18 2nd, silver medalist(s) 4 1 0 1 2
2010 Russia U17 4th 6 4 6 10 10
2010 Russia IH18 5th 4 0 4 4 4
2011 Russia WJC18 3rd, bronze medalist(s) 7 4 14 18 18
2011 Russia IH18 3rd, bronze medalist(s) 5 0 4 4 0
2012 Russia WJC 2nd, silver medalist(s) 6 2 3 5 0
2013 Russia WJC 3rd, bronze medalist(s) 7 2 4 6 2
2014 Russia WJC 3rd, bronze medalist(s) 7 5 3 8 0
2018 OAR OG 1st, gold medalist(s) 6 1 3 4 0
2018 Russia WC 6th 8 4 2 6 0
Junior totals 46 18 38 56 36
Senior totals 14 5 5 10 0

Awards and honours[edit]

Award Year
CHL Top Prospects Game 2012
All-Rookie Team 2012
Rookie of the Year 2012 [23]
CHL Rookie of the Year 2012
Mike Bossy Trophy 2012 [24]
Michel Bergeron Trophy 2012
First All-Star Team 2012 [23]


  1. ^ "2011 KHL Draft". Eliteprospects.com. 2012-04-03. Retrieved 2012-04-03. 
  2. ^ "CHL Import Draft Results". leaguestat.com. 2011-06-28. Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Kimmelman, Adam (19 March 2012). "Seamless transition to North America for Grigorenko". NHL.com. Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "Draft prospect Grigorenko up for QMJHL most valuable player award". Winnipeg Free Press. The Canadian Press. 20 March 2012. Archived from the original on 28 March 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2012. 
  5. ^ "Sabres sign Grigorenko to entry-level contract". Buffalo Sabres. 2012-07-18. Retrieved 2012-07-18. 
  6. ^ NHL.com (7 January 2013). "Roy says Grigorenko will attend Sabres camp". NHL.com. Archived from the original on 8 January 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2013. 
  7. ^ Battaglino, Mike (18 January 2013). "Grigorenko, Kovalev make opening-night rosters". NHL.com. Archived from the original on 21 January 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2013. 
  8. ^ Zwolinski, Mark (29 January 2013). "Buffalo Sabres keep teenager Mikhail Grigorenko". Toronto Star. Toronto. Archived from the original on 21 January 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2013. 
  9. ^ Ryndak, Christ (29 January 2013). "Leafs beat clock and Sabres, 4–3". NHL.com. Archived from the original on 31 January 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2013. 
  10. ^ NHL.com (15 March 2013). "Sabres return top pick Grigorenko to junior team". NHL.com. Archived from the original on 2 October 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2013. 
  11. ^ "Sabres recall Mikhail Grigorenko". The Globe and Mail. 16 April 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2013. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Sabres Grigorenko in NHL, Junior limbo". Niagara Falls Review. 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2014-01-09. 
  13. ^ Peters, Chris (11 January 2014). "Sabres send Mikhail Grigorenko back to junior for second straight year". CBS Sports. Archived from the original on 12 January 2014. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  14. ^ "Chad Johnson not happy with how TSN interview unfolded". Niagara Falls Review. 2015-03-03. Retrieved 2015-03-03. 
  15. ^ "Avalanche trade O'Reilly to Sabres". The Sports Network. 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  16. ^ "Avalanche sign Mikhail Grigorenko". Colorado Avalanche. 2015-07-17. Retrieved 2015-07-17. 
  17. ^ "Berra pitches perfect game". Colorado Avalanche. 2015-10-17. Retrieved 2015-10-17. 
  18. ^ "Avalanche end of season evaluations: Mikhail Grigorenko". Denver Post. 2016-04-27. Retrieved 2016-04-27. 
  19. ^ "Mikhail agrees to contract with Colorado Avalanche". National Hockey League. 2016-07-21. Retrieved 2016-07-21. 
  20. ^ "Grigorenko taking advantage of his opportunity". Colorado Avalanche. 2016-10-09. Retrieved 2016-10-09. 
  21. ^ "Avalanche part ways with Mikahil Girgorenko, Siemens given qualifying offer". BSNDenver.com. 2017-06-26. Retrieved 2017-06-26. 
  22. ^ "Mikhail Grigorenko returned to CSKA" (in Russian). CSKA Moscow. 2017-07-03. Retrieved 2017-07-03. 
  23. ^ a b "Mooseheads hardware hopefuls fall short at awards". metronews.ca. 2012-04-04. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  24. ^ "Grigorenko, McCabe among Sabres prospects expected to have big 2012-13". hockeysfuture.com. 2012-09-12. Retrieved 2012-09-12. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Joel Armia
Buffalo Sabres first round draft pick
Succeeded by
Zemgus Girgensons
Preceded by
Nail Yakupov
Winner of the CHL Rookie of the Year Award
Succeeded by
Valentin Zykov