Puck Blog

Colorado Avalanche Forward Mikhail Grigorenko Ready to Breakout

Colorado Avalanche forward Mikhail Grigorenko is ready to breakout this season, and his confidence in the preseason should brim-over when the games actually count.

RP-by Ross Sellers Follow @rse21milehigh

How could fans of the Colorado Avalanche not be excited by Mikhail Grigorenko this season after watching him pot four goals during the preseason?

Grigs is starting to stroll into his confidence in the NHL, and Avs fans should be excited by that. Along with Mikko Rantanen, he has the potential to be the most exciting development this season. Shy of a Stanley Cup win, that is.

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Where is Grigs Going to Play in the Lineup?

He’s currently playing left wing on a line with Carl Soderberg and Matt Duchene. That just seems like a wonderful line combination to me, and it helps spread Nathan MacKinnon and Duchene between the top two lines.

So, it would appear that he’s earned himself a top six spot on the roster, and why not? He’s brimming with confidence right now, he’s been playing great defensively and offensively and he appears to be ready for more responsibility.

Here he is talking about the preseason, and said confidence:

Quick hits from the video:

  • Those Vegas locker rooms look great right now.
  • Duchy and Grigs seem to be developing some chemistry.
  • Grigs is happy and his confidence level is high, and he’s ready for the season.

Here’s a video of the goal he scored in that Kings game if you haven’t seen it already:

A great feed by Matt Duchene, but that’s a real nice shot by Grigs. It’s difficult to tell if it gets deflected; either way, it’s a real nice shot by Grigorenko. All of his goals this preseason have been pretty dazzling though. Here’s my favorite:

Just so fluid. He takes his time up the boards, then makes a quick move to the slot, and effortlessly lifts a backhand home.

There’s a lot to be excited about if Grigs plans on playing that way — and the way he has the entire preseason — when the puck drops on Saturday.

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And, I’m not the only one who is excited by his play, he’s getting high praise from the coach as well.

Jared Bednar on Grigorenko’s Play this Preseason

Jared Bednar has been praising Grigorenko’s play throughout the preseason, but his comments during the post game presser on October 8 are particularly noteworthy.

I’m just going to link to the video because it’s better from the horse’s mouth, he starts talking about Grigs around the 1:40 mark:

Quick hits from the video:

  • You can see Jared Bednar’s attention perk up when the reporter mentions Grigorenko.
  • Grigs is getting ice time because he’s been good from day one.
  • Sees a “talented smart player;” can make plays “with and without the puck.”

Bednar goes on to say that when “you give smart players the opportunity I think they’re going to find a way to get the job done.”

And Grigs has certainly been getting the job done this preseason, with four goals. If Grigs and Duchene can develop some chemistry, then watch out folks. And, I believe that Soderberg will be a nice stabilizing presence on that line.

Not to mention that Grigs is a fantastic defensive player. So, If he does end up on a line with Duchene and Soderberg then that line should be a nice two-way line. Also, Duchene adds a dimension of offense to that line, and both Soda and Grigs can dish the puck. But now, Grigs is also showing that he can score; Soda may never even have to worry about shooting.

Grigs grabbed my attention last year, now I’m just waiting for him to go out and shock me.

Conclusion

With both Mikhail Grigorenko and Nikita Zadorov* stepping into bigger roles this season, Avalanche fans will get a good chance at seeing the value return from the O’Reilly trade.

*Nikita Zadorov is set to be Erik Johnson’s partner, at least to start the season.

Also, let us not forget about J.T. Compher. Keep an eye on him in San Antonio because he’s surrounded by some good talent down there.

But my eye will be trained to No. 25 this season because he’s poised for a big year. He looks faster, more confident, and certainly prepared. He also has Bednar’s confidence, so that should go a long way. Now, the onus rests on Grigorenko’s shoulders to go out and prove that he belongs in the top six, permanently.

Buckle up, Saturday is just a hop, skimp and a jump away.

That’s all for today folks, thank you for stopping by.