There’s a lot about Mikhail Grigorenko we know, and quite a bit we don’t. Of the three Russians at the top of the draft, he’s the one who has the widest range of opinion. He’s a polarizing prospect.

The first time I heard the Russian anthem was 1972. I remember being blown away by its beauty, and it kind of flew in the face of everything we’d been taught about the Russians. What an inspirational song. I can imagine Russian men and women have been inspired by it and it must be a point of pride. Congratulations to the Russians, the Slovaks and the Czechs who swept the medals at the World Championship in what has been a difficult year.


  • Corey Pronman: “He’s an exceptionally gifted player who can control the flow of a hockey game seemingly at will with elite puck skills, vision, offensive creativity, and overall hockey sense. He makes high level dekes seem effortless and is the kind of player who is able to slow the game down to his pace rather than try to keep up with it. His ability as a playmaker is really special as he is the classic “eyes in the back of his head” type of player who consistently makes high-level reads quickly and effectively. Grigorenko’s hand skills allow him to keep the puck away from pursuers very well and when he’s setting up in open ice, the chances of a defender being able to cleanly check him is low.”
  • Red Line Report: “As talented as Grigorenko is, he simply does not work hard AT ALL when he doesn’t have the puck, even at crucial moments in a game.  One shift he had about four minutes left to go in a game his team was only losing by one goal perfectly illustrated the point.  After attempting an individualistic play, Grigorenko lost the puck behind the net in the attacking zone, it squirted free to a defenseman about two feet to his right, and he just stood there watching as the defender skated the puck out of trouble without even a hint of trying to track him down or even put mild pressure on him.  It would have been a real eye-opener for us – if we hadn’t been seeing the exact same thing from him for three years now.”
  • Grant McCagg, tsn: Strengths: Possesses the size, strength and skill teams covet in a first-line centre, protects the puck well and has great hands for a big man. Also has a smooth, powerful stride and drives to the net with force. Has a heavy shot, great vision and passing skills, elite offensive talent. Not afraid to get his nose dirty when so inclined. Weaknesses: Has to continue working on his all-around game, needs to bring more consistency, will take some shifts and games off. NHL upside: Has been compared to Viktor Kozlov in terms of his size/skill package, but also because of his inconsistency. Has the capability of being a skilled number one center at the NHL level, but will he have the desire?


  1. Taylor Hall 17-29-46
  2. Nail Yakupov 18-22-40
  3. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 11-27-38
  4. Mikhail Grigorenko 16-17-33
  5. Alex Galchenyuk 11-19-30 (16-year old numbers)


  • Pronman is very strong on him, I suggest you click through above and read the entire entry.
  • He’s a classic 1line center prospect and that my friends has exceptional value.
  • 6.02, 195 and of course he has terrific vision as described above.
  • The scouting positives are as good as it gets.


  • The Red Line item above is a vicious bit of prose. Holy crap.
  • Craig Button threw him in a gunny sack filled with rocks and tossed him off the bridge in his latest installment.


  • The Oilers could use a classic #1 C and the resume looks very good. He played on one of the better offensive teams in the QMJHL and posted impressive numbers.
  • He looks incredible in the offensive zone. Lanky center and Oh my GOD can he pass the puck with a velvet touch.
  • In a year where there’s a clear #1 and all the rest, Grigorenko is the one player who gets closest to Nail and also addresses a need for the Edmonton Oilers.


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  1. SoxandOil says:

    Yikes… Grig’s arrows all seem to be pointing the wrong way lately. If Montreal doesn’t select him (Patrick Roy factor) then he won’t be in the top 5.

  2. speeds says:

    Something that hasn’t been mentioned much, with regards to Grigorenko, is that he was diagnosed with mono late in the season.

    I’m not saying that’s the source of what scouts seem to call his inconsistent play, but if he had been playing through mono for awhile without knowing it, is it possible that could account for some of what scouts have been writing about?

    Also, and I haven’t seen an update for awhile, but last I read he was going to skip the physical testing at the combine, I’m not sure what affect that will have, if any, on his draft stock, just throwing that out there. Although I suppose it’s possible he’d change his mind if he’s better by then.

  3. Maverick says:

    Wow, top 3!

    I’m guessing more like 9th to Winnipeg.

  4. Lowetide says:

    I think the Habs will take him. There’s just too much here.

  5. TheOtherJohn says:

    Speeds with the late reference to mono in draft year.!!

    Not sure…… Philly got real dud 9th OV last year. Plus heard Couturier struggled defensively. Wait a second, 19 year old was their best defenive forward. How about Yak for Couturier and Philly #1. We end up with big boy, defensively sound 2 C and an Extra late 1st rounder

  6. jfry says:

    toj, couturier was always seen as a defensive powerhouse. it was one of his draft strengths.

  7. gogliano says:

    Is there a reason so many of these kids get mono in their draft year?

    Not saying there isn’t (team conditions? age? etc.), just noticeable how prevalent in seems to be in the draft. Maybe I’m imagining it.

  8. Lowetide says:

    This just in: goaltending is all over the place at the Memorial Cup.

  9. speeds says:

    One thing with mono is that it isn’t normally serious, but it can be.

    Robin Soderling was the 5th ranked men’s tennis player last year, before he came down with mono around the time of the US Open (late August, early Sept). He hasn’t played since, and I’m not sure if he’s supposed to be back any time soon.

  10. PunjabiOil says:

    I wanted the Oilers badly to stick at 2nd overall, so that they would select Grigorenko.

    Now it seems like, had the Oilers been drafting 2nd OV, they wouldn’t take Grigorenko anyways. Murray or Alex Galchenyuk or Reinhart perhaps ahead of him?

    Grigorenko seems to have the tools, but it isn’t just one scouting agency raising red flags. It’s very possible he will turn out to be a number 1 C, but the character aspect cannot be overlooked. Talented players like Rob Schremp and Nikita Filatov didn’t make it due to their lack of willingness to improve their games, and work for battles. As one pro scout put it, “there are players that win battles, and players that lose battles. Rob Schremp has no interest in battles.” On that front, the reports on Grigorenko are somewhat alarming.

    It’s good the Oilers won the draft lottery and can now take the guy with less red flags and lower risk – Yakupov. Factor in Yakupov being 19 by season start, and there is a real chance he makes impact rather quickly.

  11. SoxandOil says:

    I heard about the mono also, curious to who diagnosed him with it was it a doctor or his agent?

    My money (not very much) is his agent.

  12. art vandelay says:

    Who doesn’t love a song written to inspire an army responsible for murdering tens of millions of people.

  13. nathan says:

    art vandelay,

    doh. Alex. I’ll take people who can translate Russian lyrics the first time they hear them for $100.

  14. spoiler says:

    Grigorenko will fall. Montreal will take Galchenyuk or Forsberg. Safer bets with about the same upside. Question is, will TO pull the trigger, if the other 2Cs are already gone? After that, possibly number 9 or even farther.

    The mono thing explains the last two months, but not the past 3 years. No desire reps are tough to beat. Look how far Esposito fell… so far we still can’t see that guy.

  15. Lowetide says:

    spOILer: How do we know Forsberg has the same kind of upside? His offense doesn’t look terribly impressive considering the league he’s playing in.

  16. Jonathan Willis says:


    Esposito and Grigorenko are *wildly* different scenarios. Esposito scored 39 goals and 98 points the year before his draft season; he followed that up with 27 goals and 79 points in 60 games. Grigorenko’s rookie North American season is his draft year; he scored 40 goals in 59 games and 85 points total.

    The comparison grossly misrepresents Grigorenko.

  17. Jonathan Willis says:


    You’d lose your money – it was the team that announced it, after their medical staff ran tests.

  18. franksterra says:

    art vandelay,

    Star Spangled Banner?

    God Save the Queen/King?

  19. franksterra says:


    Yes many people are overlooking the second-tier league thing, preferring to say he’s been ‘playing against men’. No doubt he’s still a good player though.

    LT, JW, wouild the league he’s playing in be comparable to say the AHL?

  20. Lowetide says:

    Frank: I spokle to Gabriel Desjardins about it, and he estimated .19 as the NHLE for the Allsvenskan league. Which puts Forsberg at about 82, 3-3-6; that may not be fair, but he went 6, 0-1-1 at the WJC and 6, 5-2-7 at the U18 WJC’s.

    Yakupov went 7, 0-9-9 at the WJ’s and 7, 6-7-13 at the 10-11 U18 WJ’s, as an example.

  21. godot10 says:

    Frank: I spokle to Gabriel Desjardins about it, and he estimated .19 as the NHLE for the Allsvenskan league. Which puts Forsberg at about 82, 3-3-6; that may not be fair, but he went 6, 0-1-1 at the WJC and 6, 5-2-7 at the U18 WJC’s.

    Yakupov went 7, 0-9-9 at the WJ’s and 7, 6-7-13 at the 10-11 U18 WJ’s, as an example.

    Ryan Murray at the U18 WJ’s 7GP, 3-7-10
    The guy truly has no top end offensive potential. Contrast that with Ryan Murphy, who supposedly does.
    Ryan Murphy at the U18 WJ’s, 7GP, 4-9-13
    Morgan Reilly at the U18 WJ’s, 7GP, 2-1-3

    Ryan Murray made the 2012 WJ team as a draft eligible and went 6GP, 0-3-3, +6. Ryan Murphy, a high first round draft pick did not.

    And wow. Murray had exactly the same number of goals as the supposed goal-scoring dynamo Nail Yakupov at the World Juniors…i.e. zero.

  22. Lowetide says:

    Yeah, I think Murray’s offense is being underestimated because of his role at the international tournaments and the poor quality of his WHL team.

  23. PunjabiOil says:

    Ryan Murray at the U18 WJ’s 7GP, 3-7-10.

    That’s fair, but it is a tournament of small sample sizes.

    Yakupov has proven his worth for 2 full seasons. With Ryan Murray, it would be a risk selecting him:

    1. How much of his poor offense is due to the quality of his WHL team?
    2. Do we want a guy who drives results, or benefits from TOI. We all waited for a guy like Eric Brewer to turn into the offensive defenceman. Never happened.
    3. http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/leagues/seasons/teams/0010032012.html

    Matt Dumba – 2nd on a poor offensive team in points (1 behind a 19 year old).

    Suggestive of good players driving results, regardless of team.

    What does this all mean?

    There is no reason for the Oilers to go against the current. Select Yakupov, and address team needs via other areas.

    It’s a no-brainer AINEC.

  24. Lowetide says:

    The two main arguments that I see to be cautionary about Yakupov are the knee injury and lack of TOI totals. Reading reports of 28 minutes a night is a little disconcerting.

  25. PunjabiOil says:

    Reading reports of 28 minutes a night is a little disconcerting.

    Could you please provide a link to these reports.

    Or surface, that is a little disconcerting.

    That said, I think the gap is too large between 1st and 2nd OV.

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