Prospect Profile: Mikhail Grigorenko
|Quebec Ramparts (playoffs)||11||3||7||10||-2||4|
|2011-2012||Russia (World Jr’s)||6||2||3||5||-1||0|
Mikhail Grigorenko came into the season expected to be a consensus number two pick however questions about his work ethic and Russian heritage have allowed Grigorenko’s prospect rankings to slip possibly allowing the Leafs to steal this dynamite center with the 5th overall pick.
Grigorenko’s work ethic is constantly brought into question despite his exceptional rookie season with the Quebec Ramparts. Grigorenko has the ability to make a lot of his plays on the ice look effortless which while it is a true star quality becomes misconstrued as laziness.
“His work ethic draws issues at times but he’s not an extremely lazy player, though he’s not one who gives it 100% every shift. He’s also the kind of player who likes to slow the game down, so some observers perceive that as questionable work ethic. However, he’s the kind of talent who NHL sources have described as the best guy on the ice while he’s going at 75%”.- Corey Pronman of hockey prospectus http://hockeyprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1307
Grigorenko address the criticism of his work ethic in a press conference after meeting with the Edmonton Oilers, “That’s their opinion, so they can say whatever they want. When I’m on the ice I try to do my best every game and every shift. Sure, I might have some problems, but I want to work on them and I want to get better every game.”
Some of the criticism of his work ethic could come from the fact he contracted mononucleosis during the stretch run of the Quebec Ramparts season and wasn’t playing at 100%. Grigorenko was unable to raise his draft stock at the draft combine because he was still recovering from the disease.
Similar criticism plagued Anzei Kopitar in his draft year who despite being ranked the top European in his draft class fell to 11th overall in 2005. Kopitar lead playoff scoring while winning a Stanley cup with the Los Angeles Kings this year.
Grigrenko is an exceptional playmaker with amazing vision. His size will translate into him being NHL ready sooner than a lot of his draft counterparts however he has to learn to use it more and become more of a physical player.
Grigerenko has been working a lot on his two way game with the Quebec Ramparts for his rookie season. He has the ability to be the franchise center the Toronto Maple Leafs so desperately crave and would be an absolute steal from the 5th overall spot.
“With top-notch vision and hockey IQ, Grigorenko effectively fills the role of the playmaker as well, creating numerous opportunities for teammates. In terms of raw skill (and perhaps total offensive upside) there isn’t a purer selection than Grigorenko in 2012.” – Bob Mand, Bruins Corrospondant at the hockey writers http://thehockeywriters.com/mikhail-grigorenko-the-next-ones-2012-nhl-draft-prospect-profile-the-boom-bust-factor-looms/
“Grigorenko enjoyed a fine season, as he was the highest scoring rookie, showcasing his vastly superior offensive skill set. He also won a silver medal a the WJC, but his play and contributions were limited and did not help his overall draft stock. Grigorenko is a big player with underrated strength and can be difficult to move once he gets a head of steam. What separates him from other prospects is his ability to make sensational passes while looking off. He can gain additional real estate in the offensive zone due to his uncanny stickhandling ability, as his one-on-one moves and imagination with the puck are NHL-calibre already.” – David Burstyn McKeen’s Hockey Director of Socuting http://thehockeywriters.com/mikhail-grigorenko-the-next-ones-2012-nhl-draft-prospect-profile-the-boom-bust-factor-looms/
“Grigorenko is a very special kind of talent who scouts have been hearing about for many years. He absolutely burst onto the scene last year with a tremendous performance at the Under-18s. He’s an exceptionally gifted player who can control the flow of a hockey game seemingly at will with elite puck skills, vision, offensive creativity, and overall hockey sense. He makes high level dekes seem effortless and is the kind of player who is able to slow the game down to his pace rather than try to keep up with it. His ability as a playmaker is really special as he is the classic “eyes in the back of his head” type of player who consistently makes high-level reads quickly and effectively. Grigorenko’s hand skills allow him to keep the puck away from pursuers very well and when he’s setting up in open ice, the chances of a defender being able to cleanly check him is low. When you combine his puck skills and sense, though, you get the combination of tools that allow him to make “unique” plays, that after they happen, you try to remember about the last time you saw a play similar to that. He is an above-average skater who industry sources have described with the kind of stride that looks like he’s floating on the ice as he effortlessly picks up speed— especially for a bigger player. Grigorenko also has a pretty decent array of shots and is certainly an above-average finisher. He is an advanced two-way thinker who gets the job done at a decent level in his own end, and while he struggled with that aspect of his game earlier in the year, he was much better later on. He has above-average size, and while he doesn’t really use his frame as much as he could, he’s decent in the physical aspects of hockey as he boxes out fine along the wall and will win some battles” – Corey Pronman of hockey prospectus http://hockeyprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1307