Entering Sunday night’s game against Boston many were left wondering that very thing after the 12th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft has seen his playing time be reduced each night until he was made a healthy scratch for the contest against the Bruins.
Grigorenko skated during warm ups with the team on Sunday night, but didn’t dress for the first time in his short NHL career.
Lindy Ruff said that it’s part of the development process for the highly-touted Russian prospect.
“It’s just part of the program,” he said. “We’re going to work with him some days; he’s going to get extra work in.”
Grigorenko has seen very little success thus far in his rookie season with the Sabres. He has a goal and two assists in 12 games, and has often found himself relegated to fourth line roles during games. It’s decisions that has many wondering if Ruff didn’t want the 18-year old to stay up with the team in the first place, and that the decision was ultimately made by someone over his head.
Ruff insists that that’s not the reason for his sitting.
“We want to try to develop him, get him stronger. I think he’s doing okay,” he said. “It’s just part of the program.”
Ruff didn’t tip his hat either way as to whether or not Grigorenko would be back in the line up Tuesday night when the team travels to Ottawa. It’s expected that more will be known on Monday when the team hits the ice for practice.