Ted Nolan and Pat LaFontaine promised that they were going to rely less on the young players on the roster of the Buffalo Sabres, and that promise came to fruition this morning. The team announced that Nikita Zadorov had been demoted to the OHL, while the trio of Rasmus Ristolainen, Johan Larsson and Mikhail Grigorenko will report to the Rochester Americans of the AHL.
Ristolainen and Larsson could end up spending a chunk of time in the minors, while Grigorenko has been placed in the A on a conditioning stint.
All signs point to Grigorenko returning the to Sabres after his stint is completed, but it’s unclear what the team will do with him after that. Chris Peters of CBSSports.com explains why moving the Russian center back to the junior level may be difficult:
The final decision on Grigorenko is a little more complicated as his junior club, the Quebec Remparts were clearly not expecting him back. Teams in Canadian major junior can only carry two import players. The Remparts have both those spots occupied and one of those players they would not be allowed to trade or drop due to league rules.
Regardless of what happens with Grigorenko, this is quite the shakeup for the Sabres and it stands in stark contract to the direction that ex-general manager Darcy Regier was going with the franchise. He wanted as much youth in the lineup as possible, and seemed to be aiming for another top-five selection in the draft this season.
This won’t be the last drastic measure that the new regime in Buffalo takes, and it’ll be interesting to see how they continue to shake up this roster moving forward.