By Mike Harrington
The Sabres are still up in the air with Mikhail Grigorenko even though the decision to keep him in the NHL seems like a no-brainer from this view. He's talented, he's creative and he plays center -- an area this team is woefully thin at. You want to see Grigorenko or Matt Ellis? You want them to force Ville Leino back to center, as Lindy Ruff mused about today? Please.
Keep the kid.
Still, it's only been 50-50 among other NHL teams about keeping key junior eligibles or sending them back. Here's a quick rundown:
---The Canadiens are keeping No. 3 overall pick Alex Galchenyuk as Montreal GM Marc Bergevin gave him the word today. Galchenyuk is the first 18-year-old to play with the Habs since Petr Svoboda in 1984. He has a goal and two assists in four games and could have gone back to Sarnia of the Ontario Hockey League. He was a standout for Team USA in the World Junior Championships earlier this month in Russia.
---The Bruins are keeping defenseman Dougie Hamilton rather than sending the 19-year-old back to the Niagara Ice Dogs of the OHL. He's been a key power-play guy and already averages 17 minutes a game.
---The Panthers have decided that Jonathan Huberdeau will stay in the NHL rather than return to Saint John of the Quebec League. Huberdeau, 19, was the third overall pick in 2011. He has a goal and three assists in five games while averaging 16 minutes.
---The Flyers returned forward Scott Laughton, the 20th overall pick, to Oshawa. He had no points while averaging 11 1/2 minutes a game and drew praise in the linked article from GM Paul Holmgren, but he wasn't really needed with the imminent return of Daniel Briere.
---The Wild sent defenseman Matt Dumba back to Red Deer of the Western League. He was the No. 7 pick last June.
---There's been no doubt about the Edmonton Oilers keeping No. 1 overall pick Nail Yakupov while New Jersey still has No. 29 pick Stefan Matteau on its roster and he hits game five Tuesday in Boston. The Leafs returned No. 5 pick Morgan Rielly to Moose Jaw (love that name!) before he played in a game.
taggedBoston Bruins | Florida Panthers | Mikhail Grigorenko | Minnesota Wild | Montreal Canadiens | New Jersey Devils | Toronto Maple Leafs