The Buffalo Sabres had a very good season finishing atop their division. However, their successes came largely off the back of Vezina winning goalie Ryan Miller. The offence was weak, and the defence was just okay.
They looked for a deep playoff run, but were upset in the first round.
The Buffalo Sabres still have plenty of room to improve and the draft is the perfect way to do this.
Without further ado, the new Sabres are as follows:
With the 23rd overall selection the Sabres got an instant upgrade on the defence. Mark Pysyk plays a very similar game to Phoenix Coyotes draft pick Brandon Gormley.
Pysyk is not amazing at the offensive side of the game, and is not a standout at the defensive side of the game, but he is so well rounded at both that he is an amazing pick.
Pysyk is very steady he rarely makes mistakes, and he can make a good breakout pass, he has the potential to improve greatly in both areas of the game, and he could be a very smart pick at 23rd.
With Buffalo's second pick they selected another defenseman by the name of Jerome Gauthier-Leduc. Leduc is the second of eight players from the Canadian Hockey League the Sabres selected.
Playing with Rouyn-Noranda, Jerome proved that he could be a very valuable asset in the offensive zone. With a very hard shot, and good puck movement he is a great guy to have to QB a power play.
Gauthier-Leduc scored 20 times from the back end, and added another 26 assists.
The only problem with his game is that he needs to improve more on his defensive game. He is not bad, but some improvements need to be made if he wants to make the Sabres.
With the second of three third round picks the Sabres finally went the forward route selecting Kevin Sundher of the Chilliwack Bruins. Sundher plays more of a one-dimensional game, but is looking to improve at the defensive game to compliment his tremendous offensive potential.
Sundher scored 61 points in 72 games in his sophomore season. Sundher plays a physical game as well; he can hit, and fight as well as score.
The Sabres seem to be leaning towards physical forwards lately, so Sundher is an excellent pick.
The final defenseman the Sabres took was Calgary Hitman Matt Mackenzie. Mackenzie brings a two-way game from the back end. With 40 points this past season, 34 of which were assists, it's clear he has plenty of offensive potential.
Mackenzie is also very solid in his own end, he rarely makes mistakes, and he is not afraid to show the physicality he brings to the game as well.
Mackenzie looks like a good steal late in the third round.
Darcy decided to go to the Ontario Hockey League for his next pick. Steven Shipley a centre from the Owen Sound Attack was selected in the fourth round.
Shipley is a pure offensive talent. His notched almost a point a game on a weak attack squad. Shipley is more of a playmaking centre, but he can also put the puck in the net. His game is fairly strong, he doesn't stand out all that much but he always finds himself on the score sheet.
The Sabres turned too Gregg Sutch in the fifth round of the draft. Sutch, to put it bluntly, is not going to score you any goals. With only 10 goals in 103 games split between the Mississauga St. Michaels Majors and Sarnia Sting he doesn't really provide much in the way of offence.
What he does bring however is a solid level of physicality. He can hit and agitate without getting into trouble himself, which is a very valuable asset to a team. However with the Sabres already having a young agitator in Kaleta, it is hard to see where Sutch would fit into this lineup.
In the sixth round the Sabres selected Cedrick Henley from the QMJHL. Henley has the offensive potential but he has yet to show it. In his junior career he has tallied 31 points in 105 games played.
All accounts say that he can score big numbers but he has yet to prove them right.
The final two picks came in the final round: Christian Isackson from the Minnesota high school system and Riley Boychuk from the Portland Winterhawks.
With St. Thomas Academy, Isackson recorded over two points a game. Isackson seems to always be in the right place to make a play. He can finish, he can pass and he does all the little things right. However, this is just high school hockey. If he can keep this up with the University of Minnesota next season he may be a solid pick.
The third last pick in the draft was Riley Boychuk. Boychuk seems to follow the tale of the tape for forwards drafted by Regier. Boychuk is not particularly gifted in the offensive department, but he is a fighter, and he is a great agitator. He projects to be a solid fourth liner.
Offence: B-, Sundher and Shipley could be solid talents, but Regier picked too many gritty forwards that may not fit into the line-up. The Sabres needed offence and they didn't get it.
Defence: A+, The already strong Buffalo defence got even stronger. Pysyk, Gauthier-Leduc, and Mackenzie are all very solid prospects.
Goaltending: F, No goaltenders were drafted.
Overall: B, While the defence made good improvements the lack of offensive potential in this draft really hurts. The Sabres failed to address the key weakness in their game.
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