Buffalo, NY – Buffalo Sabres forward Mikhail Grigorenko has refused an assignment back to Canadian juniors.
The club announced on Saturday afternoon that Grigorenko, who has struggled in posting two goals and one assist in 18 games this season, was demoted as part of a spate of roster moves that were the first for newly-named GM Tim Murray.
According to the Buffalo News, Sabres president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine spoke with the 19-year-old to explain why the move was made, saying the young center needed to play top-line minutes in the NHL but was not ready to do so.
The paper speculated that Grigorenko, who released a statement on his Facebook page, was advised by his agent to mull his options before making a final decision about the course of his young hockey career.
"I just want to apologized (sic) for the situation going on right now. We just need to find a place for me where I can develop and be the best hockey player I can be," the message read. "I would just ask all of you guys to respect me and the time I'm taking to think about my career. It might be hard to understand but it is even harder for a teenager."
Grigorenko was selected by the Sabres with the 12th overall pick in the 2012 draft. He posted 40 goals and 45 assists in 59 games for the Quebec Remparts in 2011-12, his first season in North America.