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Rep Reviews Buffalo’s Haul

With the 2012 NHL Entry Draft now behind us, Mike Repertorio offers his take on how the Buffalo Sabres scored. Read below to get Rep’s insightful look at Buffalo’s additions.

#12- Mikhail Grigorenko| C
Grigorenko was a great pick up. I would have never thought he would fall to #12, but I am so glad that he did. And I don’t think Grigs will disappoint. Some say he was the best center available this year and with his “elite” offensive abilities, that’s not hard to believe. And while I touched on his work ethic concerns in the preview, his coach, Patrick Roy stood up for his young star before the draft. Roy stated that Grigs has been an extremely hard worker who just needs to work on his stamina. And according to Kevin Devine, he may just be doing that in Buffalo next season. With his skill, Devine believes Grigorenko has a possibility to play for the Sabres this season. And with KHL concerns quelled thanks to Grigs commitment and excitement to play in Buffalo, this may just be the steal of the draft. Excellent pick by the Buffalo Sabres.
#14- Zemgus Girgensons| C
In a surprise move, the Sabres made a deal to move up from 21 to 14 overall. They had to give up their 42nd overall pick as well, but for Girgensons it was well worth it. The young Latvian who was the Captain for Dubuque of the USHL will be attending the University of Vermont where he will continue to improve his already strong game. The big, strong Girgensons, a self proclaimed skilled power forward, is a real talent the Sabres didn’t want to miss out on. He’s really skilled with the puck but is also a physical presence, a potent combination for a player to possess. He has a great work ethic and plays like a monster. Sabres fans will love to see the “Latvian Locomotive” patrolling the pivot in Buffalo. Managing to draft these two “G’s” was a real coup for the Sabres in the first round.
#44- Jake McCabe|D
After passing on taking a defenseman in the first round, the Sabres looked to the University of Wisconsin and freshman defenseman Jake McCabe. And as a freshman, McCabe enjoyed solid success, both offensively and defensively with the Badgers. With 12 points in 26 games, McCabe was the second highest freshman scorer on the team. An unfortunate injury cost him to miss a significant chunk of his season, but he still proved to be effective when he was on the ice. He’s an all around player who is good in all aspects of his game. With more time to grow and develop McCabe will surely increase his two-way potential. While the Sabres have a lot of defensive depth, McCabe’s ceiling along with the fact he will be at the University of Wisconsin for the next couple of years bodes well for the young defenseman’s future.
#73- Justin Kea| C
In the third, the Sabres went back to the continue fortifying the pivot position in their system. Kea was one of the players that the Sabres had interest in and invited to Buffalo before the draft. The big 6’4”, 215lb center definitely impressed the staff as he will be a welcomed addition after the trade of Paul Gaustad. While there is still room for offensive growth, Kea is a tough customer. He plays a power forward game and has shown a willingness to drop the gloves on more than a few occasions. And while he already has good size, if he can continue to get bigger and stronger, Kea will really be a force at the next level. The Sabres are dedicated to getting bigger and stronger through the draft and Kea is no exception. With the guidance of a new coach in Saginaw, Kea’s potential is a high as he makes it.
#133- Logan Nelson| C
The Minnesota born center finally found his calling in his first over-age draft year with the Victoria Royals. After a tough season in the USHL with Des Moines, Nelson felt a change of scenery would be necessary for his development. And it really proved to be a success as his production jumped immensely, nearly sevenfold. Using his speed and skill, Nelson adapted well to play in the WHL as a mature rookie. And while Nelson is a lanky 6’1” center, he doesn’t exclude physical play from his game, even dropping the gloves a few times. If Nelson gets a little bigger to fill out that frame he will likely develop into a solid two-way player. This pick should surely solidify the Sabres system giving it a solid balance of size, strength, grit and skill.
#163- Linus Ullmark| G
Not to be confused with Oiler YouTube sensation Linus Omark, the ’93 born Swedish tender is the first Swedish player drafted by the Sabres since fellow countryman Jhonas Enroth. This marks the second season in a row that the Sabres have drafted an overage goalie in the 6th Round. And much like the luck they had with Lieuwen, they will likely see with Ullmark. At 6’3”, the Swedish junior star has good size to go along with his good numbers. With a GAA below 3 and a Sv% at an upwards of .915, Ulmmark earned himself a call up to the big club where he saw action in three games. This pick adds more depth to the system, giving the Sabres a good group of tenders to develop over the next few years.
#193- Brady Austin| D
The Sabres took Bellville Bull Brady Austin with their first of 2 selections in the 7th round. A much improved player after a trade from Erie to Bellville, Austin is another huge defenseman to add to the system. At 6’4” and roughly 230 lbs, Austin is a big, strong stay at home defenseman. He’s a ’93 born skater who’s had 3 years of experience in the OHL so it will be interesting to see him continue to develop. While he has size to play at the next level, his offensive game is still something that can be improved as he continues to round out his entire game. With his mix of size, strength and commitment to defense, Austin will fit in well with 6’8” Myers, 6’4” McNabb, 6’8” Finley and 6’4” Lepkowski.
#204- Judd Peterson| C;RW
I had the right idea in the preview, just the wrong player. The Sabres have again drafted a high school standout to close out their draft. Peterson, at 5’11”/6’0” and 192lbs would actually prove to be the smallest player drafted by the Sabres this year. And while the Sabres have emphasized size with recent picks, it’s hard to pass up on skill. In 30 games for the Duluth Marshall School, Peterson racked up 83 points en route to earning a Division 1 scholarship to play for St. Cloud State. He will however make a stop in Cedar Rapids as he gears up for the college experience. Peterson may be another sleeper pick who might develop into quite the NHLer down the road.

And that closes the book on the 2012 NHL Draft. I want to take this time to congratulate all of the players who were drafted this past weekend and a special congrats to the newest Sabres recruits, I wish them all the best of luck!

There is however no rest for the weary. Preliminary rankings for the 2013 NHL Draft will soon be released and I will adjourn back to the draft board. Stay tuned!

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