The Sabres Observer
by @DaveDavisHockey on 01/28/13 at 05:38 PM ET
There've been some reports coming from mainstream media outlets today stating that Mikhail Grigorenko has to stay with the Sabres for the remainder of the season if he plays another NHL game. This is simply not true. It's just a question of whether or not the club is willing to count this as Year One of his entry level contract.
Granted, it's not common for a team to keep a youngster in this situation for longer than the trial period and then send him back, but there are different circumstances here. For one, GM's love to see their A-level prospects get the experience of playing in the World Juniors. Due to the late start of the NHL season, Grigorenko has already been afforded this benefit.
Also, GM Darcy Regier has gone on record as saying that Grigorenko's contract status won't weigh on the decision on how long to keep him here. That's a benefit of having an owner who isn't afraid to throw some extra money around to roll the dice. And this isn't exactly a franchise that's afraid to do things against the norm. What other teams are waiting until the last possible minute to decide whether or not to keep their junior-eligible players?
Lastly, there is another deadline to consider. Even though playing more than 5 games would burn the first year of Grigorenko's entry level contract, it would not immediately register 2013 as an "accrued year of service" for him when calculating future UFA eligibility. In this shortened season, an NHL player must be dressed for 23 games for it to count as an accrued year. What this means in English is that, as long as he plays less than 23 games this season, Grigorenko will still need 7 years of service before being eligible for unrestricted free agency.
We still don't know whether he's staying or going, and apparently neither do the Quebec Remparts. This from a team official less than an hour ago: "As of now, we did not hear back from Buffalo yet about the (Grigorenko) situation."
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About The Sabres Observer
Dave Davis has covered the Buffalo Sabres for various NHL accredited websites and newspapers since 2003. He was the senior writer and Sabres correspondent for The Fourth Period, covered hockey for Western New York Sports and Leisure Magazine, and has had articles featured on NHL.com, FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports and in New York Sportscene. Sabres news and notes can be found on his Twitter page.
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