Top draft prospect Mikhail Grigorenko, who has missed the last four games for the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League while recuperating from an ankle injury suffered at the 2012 World Junior Championship, is expected to make his anticipated return on Tuesday.
Remparts head coach Patrick Roy told local reporters that Grigorenko, who is ranked No. 2 among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting's midterm report, "seems fine."
"The goal has always been that he'll make his comeback [Jan. 24] in Chicoutimi," Roy said. Quebec has two more games on the schedule before meeting the Sagueneens on Jan. 24.
Grigorenko suffered his injury playing for silver medal-winning Team Russia at the WJC. During the second period of an eventual 14-0 victory over Latvia in the preliminary round, Grigorenko collided with Latvian defender Arturs Salija at the Russian blueline -- sending him to the ice in pain. He'd miss one game and finish the tournament with 2 goals, 5 points and a plus-2 rating in six appearances.
Despite not playing a period of hockey for the Remparts upon returning from the WJC, Grigorenko still stands 11th in scoring in the league with 58 points (25 goals) in 36 games.
Once he returns to the lineup, the 6-foot-3 1/4, 200-pound center will certainly command the attention of NHL scouts and general managers.
According to NHL Director of Central Scouting, Dan Marr, Grigorenko is not too far behind No. 1-ranked Nail Yakupov of the Sarnia Sting in terms of natural talent. At the time of Central Scouting's midterm release, Marr told NHL.com that Yakupov and Grigorenko were 1-A and 1-B in his mind.
"Right now, Yakupov has shown, with the level that he's played, that he does have the ability to make a difference in the game," Marr told NHL.com at the time. "That's not saying that Grigorenko doesn't make a difference. Grigorenko controls the play, can dictate how the game is played when he's on the ice. But, right now, the consensus was Yakupov has the potential to be a difference-maker in a game. He can just turn a game around in a couple of shifts; he's that dynamic a player."
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