general manager Darcy Regier
has announced 2012 first-round pick Mikhail Grigorenko
will remain with the team for the remainder of the season.
"Two things [went into the decision]," Regier said. "The ability to continue his development in conjunction with his ability to help us win hockey games. Those two things really make it up."
The Sabres are hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs
tonight, marking Grigorenko's sixth game. The Sabres had prior to his sixth game to decide if the 12th pick of the 2012 NHL Draft would remain with the team or be returned to his junior team, the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Had they sent him back to his junior team, it would have delayed the start of his three-year, entry-level contract by one season.
Grigorenko has no points and five shots in his first five games, but played a season-high 17:10 in his last game, Sunday against the Washington Capitals
, and nearly scored his first goal. He's averaging 11:59 of ice time per game and has won 47.0-percent of his faceoffs.
Regier said Sunday's game certainly entered into his decision.
"I think it did a lot for his situation," he said. "One of the things with young players and ice time is their ability … not to be a liability because that in turn gets them the next shift. To the extent they're not scored on, they're not giving up chances, they gain the confidence of the head coach … and allows him to get out on the next shift. When you can combine that with contributing offensively, at least on the chance side, although the points aren't there, we think that'll come."