BUFFALO N.Y. - Buffalo Sabres General Manager, Darcy Regier, introduced 18-year-old Mikhail Grigorenko to the Buffalo media on Monday afternoon.
Grigorenko, the 12th overall pick in this year's NHL draft, is a 6-foot-3, 200 pound center from Russia. Grigorenko was once considered as a player who could go first overall, but saw his stock drop with questions about his desire to play in the NHL.
However, Grigorenko made it clear that he is happy to be a Buffalo Sabre and plans to play in the NHL for years to come. "I'm so excited and can't wait to go on the ice with the Sabres," Grigorenko told reporters on Monday afternoon.
When asked how he felt about making a career in Buffalo, Grigorenko referenced former Sabre and Russian, Alexander Mogilny. "I was really happy to be on this team because Alexander Mogilny was one of my favorite players and he made a career here," Grigorenko said.
In June of 2011, Grigorenko was selected second overall in the CHL Import Draft by the Quebec Remparts, owned and coached by Patrick Roy. Grigorenko says the experience helped develop him as a hockey player, but also his speaking skills. "It was a really amazing season, I came there and I learned English, I met a lot of people there and my coach was Patrick Roy so it was really good experience there," Grigorenko said when asked about playing for the Remparts last season.
In 59 games for the Remparts, Grigorenko recorded 40 goals and 45 assists and led all rookie players in goals and points.
When asked about the potential of a lockout, Grigorenko said he would use the time to improve his hockey skills, "So probably it will be better for me because I'll have more time to prepare to play NHL, so I'll have more time to get stronger and learn more about hockey," Grigorenko said.
On another note, Grigorenko is excited about wearing a Buffalo Sabres uniform, "All the time, I think the Buffalo Sabres jersey is like one of the most beautiful jerseys in the league," he said.