Mikhail Grigorenko is headed home to Russia.
The Sabres’ first-round pick in 2012 never gained his footing in the NHL, and he signed a three-year contract with CSKA of the Kontinental Hockey League on Friday. His legacy is being part of the deal that landed Ryan O’Reilly from Colorado.
Buffalo selected Grigorenko with the 12th overall pick after an impressive debut season in North America. The center had 40 goals and 85 points in 59 games for Quebec of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
His career quickly descended into a whirlwind of teams and coaches. The 2012-13 season started with a lockout, so Grigorenko went back to Quebec. When the NHL resumed in January, the Sabres decided to keep the center and burn the first year of his contract. He had just one goal and five points in 25 games, then appeared in two games for Rochester in the playoffs.
He failed to fit in anywhere in 2013-14, starting the year in Buffalo then getting sent to Quebec against his wishes.
That season, he had two goals and three points in 18 games with Buffalo, 15 goals and 39 points in 23 games with Quebec and no goals and four assists in nine games with Rochester.
He split the 2014-15 season between Buffalo and Rochester, recording three goals and six points in 25 NHL games.
At the 2015 NHL Draft, the Sabres sent Grigorenko, defenseman Nikita Zadorov, forward J.T. Compher and the No. 31 overall pick to Colorado for O’Reilly and forward Jamie McGinn. The Sabres quickly signed O’Reilly to a seven-year contract extension.
Grigorenko had six goals and 27 points in 74 games during his first season with the Avalanche. He improved his goal total to 10 last season but dropped to 23 points in 75 games.
The 23-year-old departs to Russia with 22 goals and 64 points in 217 NHL games.
The Sabres' current prospects will begin their four-day development camp Saturday. On-ice workouts will be held from 2-3:30 p.m. and 4-5:30 p.m. in HarborCenter. They are free to the public.
The players will return to the ice on Sunday, skating from 10-11:15 a.m. and 2-3:15 p.m. The sessions Monday are 10:30-11:45 a.m. and 1:45-3 p.m.
The camp wraps up at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday with the annual 3-on-3 tournament for the French Connection Cup.