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Offseason Preview Part III: Draft



blog-0150656001339704595.jpgThis is part three of a four part outlook into the Sabres offseason. This section will focus on potential draft picks at 12th overall to keep it short. Also look into the possibilities of trading up or trading of picks in general. Buffalo is a powerful position with 4 picks in the top 44 this year (12, 21, 41, 44).

Potential Picks

1. Alex Galchenyuk-C-Sarnia Sting

6'2 185 lbs

Galchenyuk is number 1, 2 and 3 on the Sabres board. Any trade up in the draft Buffalo will be attempting to draft Galchenyuk. The Sabres believe that he can be the franchise center for the next 10 years they have been looking for. The Sting center missed most of 2011-12 with a serious knee injury, however he did return for the playoffs and does not show any sign of the injury lingering. In 2010-11 Galchenyuk had 83 points in 68 games. Galchenyuk has leadership potential and a great work ethic, he is projected to be a first line center and potential star in the NHL. Whatever team drafts him it is likely Galchenyuk would return to Sarnia in 2012-13.

2. Mikhail Grigorenko-C-Quebec Remparts

6'3 201 lbs

Grigorenko would not be a bad # 2 option for Buffalo. If they miss out on Galchenyuk it is still possible the Sabres could move up to secure Grigorenko. If this was the old Sabres management they wouldn't touch the young Russian. However in the Pegula era the Sabres have showed they no longer fear European players. The 18 year old center has good size and excellent scoring touch, however he does have some red flags. First being the fear of Russian players going to the KHL, however I see this unlikely with Grigorenko seeing he has played his entire junior career in North America. Grigorenko also has a rap of taking shifts off and not being a good two way player. If you know the Sabres you know that in Lindy Ruff's two way system that will not go over well. See Max Afinogenov. Like Galchenyuk, Grigorenko will likely return to the Remparts next season.

3. Griffin Reinhart-D-Edmonton Oil Kings

6'4 200 lbs

Reinhart would be a take the best player available scenerio at 12th. The big defender would just add to an already prospect rich blue line for the Sabres with McNabb, Pysyk, and Gauthier-Leduc. Buffalo could like the idea of pairing up Reinhart and Pysyk who played together in Edmonton. A future top four D-corp featuring the 6'8 Myers, 6'5 McNabb, 6'2 Pysyk, and 6'4 Reinhart could be scary future blue line. Add in the scoring touch of Gauthier-Leduc and the Sabres blue line could be one of the best in hockey for years to come. Reinhart is a big physical defender that can provide some scoring. The big defender had 36 points in 58 games for a surprising Oil Kings team last season.

4. Brendan Gaunce-C-Belleville Bulls

6'3 188 lbs

Gaunce would be another player the Sabres could look at with the 12th pick. Gaunce would be the # 3 center on the Sabres board. He has great size, but has issues with consistent play. Gaunce put up 68 points in 68 games with the Bulls this season. Best case scenerio Gaunce could be a top 6 center, however to me he projects out to be more of a 3rd line center that can provide size and secondary scoring. The thing that doesn't fit with the 3rd line center mold is that Gaunce struggles in his own end. He can learn the defensive side of his game in the AHL, however personally I'm not very high on Gaunce and would rather the Sabres stack up the blue line than take a risk on Gaunce.

5. Cody Ceci-D-Ottawa 67's

6'2 207 lbs

Ceci would be another luxery pick for Buffalo at 12, with hopes of picking up a center later or via trade. The Canadian defender has the size to play a physical game in the NHL, however he is more known for his offensive side. Ceci could be a great power play quarterback in the making with an excellent shot and skill. Ceci had 60 points in 64 games for Ottawa last season. He also has excellent hockey smarts in the defensive zone that enable him to make up for a mistake quickly. Ceci projects out to be a # 3 or 4 defender.


Outside of the possibility of Buffalo trading any of the their top 4 picks for a top 6 center, Buffalo is looking to move up in the draft. About a month ago Buffalo was rumored to be in talks with the Islanders for the # 4 pick eyeing either Galchenyuk or Grigorenko. Buffalo would in return send the Isles the 12th pick and Mark Pysyk. Buffalo may put a little more pressure on Columbus and Edmonton with offers as the draft nears. They have the assets to make the move the only issue is finding a dance partner. With the Oilers and Jackets likely locked into 1 and 2 outside of a crazy offer for the pick, Buffalo may wait to see how those two picks break down. If one or both of the players they want are still available they could become more agressive to jump up. I don't see a scenerio in which the Sabres keep all picks and make no moves. If that was to occur there's going to be a lot of unhappy fans.


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