It’s tough to blame the Calgary Flames for hanging onto Sean Monahan or the Washington Capitals for being reluctant to release Tom Wilson for the World Junior Championships. Both players have clear-cut roles on their teams and are an important, functioning part of an NHL team on a daily basis.
Mikhail Grigorenko isn’t in the same position with the Buffalo Sabres though. He hasn’t been able to reinvent his role with the team since Ted Nolan took over behind the bench, and his participation in the WJC could only have a positive impact.
Amy Moritz of The Buffalo News reported last night that Grigorenko made a post to his official Facebook page claiming that he was flying to Russia on Sunday to join the Russian national team. The Sabres haven’t confirmed that, but Moritz wrote that “a source close to the situation told The News the process was moving forward and the team is expected to approve lending the 19-year-old so he can play in the tournament.”
Playing time and confidence have been two major contributing factors to Grigorenko’s struggles in Buffalo. The positives that can come from playing with Russia during the WJC far outweigh the negatives. Pretty much the only bad thing that could happen to the center would be an injury, but even that price might be worth it if the kid can find some of his magic again.