The Buffalo Sabres will be keeping rookie forward Mikhail Grigorenko with the team for the remainder of the 2013 season, according to an announcement by general manager Darcy Regier on Tuesday morning.
Grigorenko still had junior eligibility left and was playing with the team under a grace period that would allow him to participate in five games without burning a year on his entry-level contract or counting against the team's salary cap. With the 18-year-old playing in his fifth game on Sunday, the next time he participates in an NHL contest will officially mark the beginning of his career.
Given the condensed nature of the 48-game season, some believed that teams would shy away from keeping junior eligible players on NHL rosters because they didn't want to waste a year of an entry-level contract on a shortened year.
The sooner the entry-level contract starts, the sooner the player is closer to a new deal.
However, Grigorenko apparently performed well enough to force the Sabres hand and reaffirmed the suspicions of his junior coach, NHL legend Patrick Roy, who believed Grigorenko would remain in the NHL this season.