Mikhail Grigorenko: Puck Daddy’s 2012 NHL Draft FAQ

The 2012 NHL Draft is upon us. Many hockey fans know these prospects well. Others are aware there's a guy named "Nail" and some other dudes among the top picks. Please allow Puck Daddy's 2012 NHL Draft FAQ to fill in the gaps.

Who is this person?

Mikhail Grigorenko, an 18-year-old left-handed shooting center from Khabarovsk, Russia.

How do you say …?

Mick-hail Grig-or-enko. Or exactly as it's spelled.

Where did he play?

With the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL, where he scored 85 points in 59 games. He also won silver with the Russian world junior team this year, scoring five points in six games.

Why is he leaving for the KHL? Is it because he's Russian?

Uh, he's not. Leaving for the KHL, that is.

As Grigorenko told the National Post: "If I wanted to go in the KHL, why would I come here? … It would have been easier to stay in Russia. For my mom, it was really hard. For me it was really hard, too, but I had teammates and hockey. When I went to some road trips, she was alone. I worked for this all my life. Hopefully someone will give me a chance to play in the NHL. That's all I want."

Why is he so lazy and heartless in the playoffs? Is it because he's Russian?

Actually, he had mono.

Why is he lying about his age, according to one Western Conference GM? Is it because he's Russian?

Damian Cox passed along the anonymous quote this week that Grigorenko may actually be 20 years old instead of 18. And while flubbing your age makes you one hell of a Little League World Series pitcher, it's generally frowned upon. Even if he'll be in his prime and still be a restricted free agent. In theory.

OK, so why is his stock plummeting days before the Draft?

It's because he's Russian.

What does he do to make scouts drool on their wrinkled suits?

Because he's ridiculously gifted. His size, 6-2 and 185 pounds, is balanced by incredible puck-handling stills that allow him to create spectacular offensive chances. He's got the vision thing of an elite playmaker — taking chances yet finding an open man. Great hands, smooth skater and a player that's gotten much better in the defensive end. All told, perhaps the most talented player in the draft …

What does he do to make scouts pop antacids?

… much in the same way Alexander Semin is one of the most talented offensive players in the world, but we'll never see that potential fulfilled because of what's going on upstairs. Questions about work ethic and focus and dedication dog Grigorenko in the same way they do other Russian players, leading some to toss out the 'E' word.

Sadly, not "Evgeni"; that would be "Enigma."

Craig Button dropped him to No. 20 on his player rankings last month, because of these issues and the KHL questions that continue to surround him despite the denials.

How's his Don Cherry impression?

Not nearly as good as Alex Galchenyuk's (far right).

Is he on Twitter?

It appears so.

Most revealing personal "favorites" answer?

Breakfast food: "Flakes." C'mon man, make it a little harder for the joke writers next time.

Celebrity he most resembles?

With that newscaster hair? We'll go with a young-ish Ted Koppel.

Three questions with Mikhail Grigorenko via Y! Sports' Junior Hockey Blog Buzzing The Net (see full profile here)

1. Whom do in the NHL do you watch and think, "He's doing things I need to start doing" or "I need to play more like him?"

"I think Evgeni Malkin [of the Pittsburgh Penguins], but my favourite player is [the New Jersey Devils'] Ilya Kovalchuk. It would probably be Malkin."

2. Who has been the toughest defenceman you've faced in the Q?

"Probably Artem Sergeev [of the Val-d'Or Foreurs]. He's a really good player in the D zone, very tough. [Shawinigan's] Brandon Gormley and [Saint John's] Nathan Beaulieu, they are also great players."

3. Which of your teammates on the Remparts have done the most to help you adapt to North America? (Grigorenko spoke broken English in September but has become fairly conversational within the past five months.)

"When I arrived everyone helped me and spoke with me and now we have a great connection. Everyone helped me. [Remparts winger] Frédérick Roy helped me a lot, he is Pat's son and he's the oldest guy on our team."

Where will he be drafted?

Kyle Woodlief has him at No. 11 … yep, the Washington Capitals. My NHL Mock Draft has him at No. 4 with the New York Islanders. Adam Kimelman of NHL.com has him at No. 8 to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Obligatory YouTube

Egads, this goal: