The Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday signed forward Mikhail Grigorenko, their top pick in last month's NHL Draft, to a three-year, entry-level contract. No financial terms were disclosed.
Grigorenko was selected by the Sabres with the 12th pick in the first-round of the draft. He was the third-ranked North American skater and top North American center in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings. The native of Khabarovsk, Russia, is Buffalo’s highest-ranked forward selection since the Sabres took Thomas Vanek with the No. 5 pick in 2003.
"Now I really can feel that I’m 100 percent a part of the organization," Grigorenko said, according to the Buffalo News. "I was so excited yesterday. I was real excited when they drafted me, but after the draft, it was like the next step to sign a contract, and now I signed. Next step is to make the team and play in the NHL."
Grigorenko scored 40 goals and added 45 assists for 85 points with only 12 penalty minutes for the Quebec Remparts in 2011-12, his first season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He led all first-year QMJHL players in goals and points and was second in regular-season assists. Despite playing 59 games, Grigorenko’s 40 goals and 85 points tied him for fifth and eighth place, respectively, among all players in the league.
"We have a number of young players that he will be competing with, but he will have every opportunity [to make the team]," general manager Darcy Regier said, according to the newspaper.
The Sabres signed their other first-round choice, Latvian center Zemgus Girgensons, to an entry-level deal last week. Buffalo made a trade with Calgary and took Girgensons two picks after selecting Grigorenko.