BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Sabres rookie center Mikhail Grigorenko will be reporting to his Canadian Junior Hockey League team after all.
The Sabres announced on their Twitter account on Sunday night that Grigorenko has informed them that he will report to Quebec City. The decision comes a day after the team's 2012 first-round draft pick balked at being demoted, saying he wanted to take time to "think about my career."
Grigorenko's agent, Jay Grossman, told The Associated Press his client agreed to report to the Remparts after lengthy discussions with Sabres president Pat LaFontaine and newly hired general manager Tim Murray.
"It's safe to say we've had serious concerns about his development process and that was warranted," Grossman said. "We felt it was important for the Sabres to look more carefully at his development and that we had these kinds of conversations that were necessary so that we were on the same page going forward with respect to his development."
Grossman called the discussions positive, and was pleased to have a chance to air his concerns directly with Murray, who was hired on Thursday. Murray, the former Ottawa Senators assistant general manager, took over in Buffalo after GM Darcy Regier was fired in November.
"The hope is that with him being assigned outside the organization that they were going to monitor his progress," Grossman said. "I think time will tell. I think that it's obviously the player's responsibility, which he surely is willing to take on to work hard and to continue to develop his game."
Grigorenko has had difficulty finding a niche in Buffalo since the Sabres selected the Russian-born player with the 12th pick in the 2012 draft. He has three goals and five assists in 43 career games with the Sabres, including two goals and an assist in 18 games this season.
The lack of production can in part be tied to Grigorenko being on his seventh coach in two years, including his third in Buffalo since Ted Nolan took over in November after Ron Rolston was fired.
The 19-year-old has also spent the past calendar year hop-scotching teams in four cities, three countries and two continents.
Grigorenko opened last season in Quebec City before making the Sabres' roster coming out of the NHL lockout in January. He lasted only two months in Buffalo before being sent back to Quebec City in March, and then finished the season playing for the Sabres' AHL affiliate in Rochester.
His career path has been just as muddled this season. Grigorenko opened the year in Buffalo, but once again had difficulty earning regular playing time. The Sabres attempted to demote him to Rochester, but the move was blocked by the NHL because he still has eligibility to play in Quebec.