I don’t think anyone who is a draft junkie like myself seen that coming. Last night on TSN Bob McKenzie unveiled his final top 30 rankings for the 2012 NHL entry draft. And while Mikhail Grigorenko had been falling the last 3 months or so, I don’t believe anyone expected him to end up being ranked 12th.
Craig Button has been pretty much putting Grigorenko lower than everyone else all year. He didn’t say he hated the kid, just that he didn’t believe he had the high end talent to be that elite number 1 centre and seen him as more of a great 2nd line centre.
In Bob’s midseason rankings Grigorenko was ranked 2nd. He had not moved in his top 10 right before the draft lottery on April 10th. But a horrific playoff combined with the “Russian factor” and questions about his work ethic see’s him end up out of the top 10 for Bob’s rankings and for those of you that don’t know Bob’s rankings are normally closer than anyone else’s.
But let’s go back to that brutal playoff performance by Grigorenko. Tough to be hard on the kid for that when he had mono. Played the entire playoffs while having mono, I would say that’s pretty impressive that he didn’t say a word about it and instead just went out and played every night.
This wasn’t the first time Grigorenko showed that kind of grit. He hurt his ankle midway through the WJC this year and tried to play through it. I would say that is pretty manly of the kid to do. Of course he was pretty ineffective while playing, but he still played.
And that wasn’t it. With that ankle still an issue, Grigorenko chose to head out to Kelowna for the top prospects game. I’m sure he had people urging him not to play as a bad performance could hurt his draft stock and yet he still went out there and played.
From what I had read and heard Grigorenko interviewed VERY well at the NHL draft combine a few weeks back too. So basically what I’m trying to say here is that this kid shouldn’t have been ranked this low. Everyone knows how much talent he has and how high his hockey IQ is. I know it’s tough to ignore dissapointing performances but when the kid played hurt and played with mono how do you ignore that?!
I don’t expect Grigorenko to go that low on Friday night. I would guess the 5-10 range is where he will go as centre’s with size and that kind of talent are so difficult to find. But then again I thought there was no way that Shawn Couturier got past 5 last year and he went 8th in a flat out steal to Philly.
When guys trend up they seem to go even higher than expected and when they trend down they seem to go even lower expected. I just mentioned Couturier, and Mark Scheifele (picked 1 spot ahead) was the opposite of that.
Whatever happens as long as Grigorenko is committed to playing in North America, some team could get a flat out steal. He is without a doubt one of the most intriguing players to follow come Friday night.
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