BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Sabres prospect center Mikhail Grigorenko didn’t make the NHL cut to start this season.
Grigorenko and forward Zac Dalpe were both assigned to Buffalo’s American Hockey League affiliate in Rochester on Monday. The moves were made three days before Buffalo opens the season hosting Columbus.
For Grigorenko, the demotion represents the latest setback for Buffalo’s 2012 first-round draft pick after he had a goal and an assist in five games this preseason.
At least, Grigorenko gets the opportunity to develop at the professional level after spending the previous two seasons bouncing between Buffalo, the Russian junior national team and his Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team in Quebec City.
Grigorenko has three goals and five assists in 43 career games with Buffalo. He had started each of the past two seasons with the Sabres before being demoted both times.
In January, the Russian-born player grew so frustrated with his role in Buffalo that he briefly balked at reporting to Quebec City. Grigorenko eventually accepted the demotion a few days later.
Though the Sabres would have preferred to send Grigorenko to the AHL, they were handcuffed from doing so because, at 19, he was still eligible to play in the Canadian junior league.
That’s not the case this year for the 20-year-old, who finished last season in Rochester, and is entering the final year of his three-year contract.
Dalpe, who was signed to a one-year contract in free agency this summer, must first clear waivers before reporting to the AHL.
The Sabres have one more move to make before establishing their 23-player roster by the NHL’s deadline Tuesday.
Rookie 18-year-old center Sam Reinhart remains on the roster. He was selected No. 2 in the NHL draft in June.
The Sabres are also carrying 19-year-old defensemen Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov, who were both 2013 first-round draft picks. Zadorov still has Canadian junior eligibility, and can only be demoted to London, of the Ontario Hockey League.