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Evaluating the Options: Mikhail Grigorenko

Mikhail Grigorenko is another name that has topped the list of the 2012 draft eligible for years.  A mainstay on the Russian Junior National teams,
Grigorenko made waves this season coming to North America, finishing 5th overall
in points, despite being a rookie and missing 9 games.  At 6’3, Grigorenko
possesses the large frame that scouts drool over, and would certainly make the
Canadiens bigger down the middle.  With his size and undeniable talent,
can the Canadiens afford to pass on Grigorenko at the #3 draft position? 

Centre/Right Wing

Born: May 16, 1994 – Khabarovsk, Russian

Height: 6’3    Weight: 200 lbs    Shoots: Left

ISS Rank: 2    THN Rank: 3    McKeens Rank: 9

Year Team League GP G A P PIM
2009-10 Russia WU17 6 4 6 10 10
2010-11 CSKA MHL 43 17 18 35 22
  Russia WU18 7 4 14 18 18
2011-12 Quebec QMJHL 59 40 45 85 12
  Russia WJC 6 2 3 5 0

As his statistics would suggest, Grigorenko possesses great talent, great
vision and tremendous passing abilities.  With comparisons being drawn to
Joe Thornton and Jason Spezza, Grigorenko boasts an impressive shot, and fares well as a sniper
when the situation requires him to be.  The Quebec Remparts’ coach, Patrick
Roy, worked hard on developing Grigorenko’s two-way game, but most scouts agree that
he is still lacking in this particular department.  In addition, most find
that he doesn’t engage as physically as desired, despite his size, and at times
appears to float through shifts.  Paired with the always caustic "Russian
Factor", many teams might be loathe to use a high draft pick on someone that
appears as disinterested as the young forward.  However, it is worth noting
that Grigorenko was playing through mononucleosis through the latter part of the

Despite his reputation as a perimeter player, a big offensive-minded forward
is something that the Canadiens desperately need.  Although making the
Canadiens wouldn’t necessarily be a foregone conclusion, given Grigorenko’s need
for development, it would be surprising if he didn’t.  Mikhail would be
unlikely to secure a top 6 roster spot out of training camp, but as with other
talented rookies, carefully managed minutes might simultaneously help the
Canadiens’ offence and further his development.  Grigorenko’s adaptability
in playing wing would only increase his chances of earning more minutes. 
Despite the apparently red flags regarding work ethic and demeanor, the
Canadiens could do worse with their #3 draft pick.