With nothing to look forward to hockey wise except the Entry Draft, the Buffalo Sabres are in a prime position to add some impact players that could be NHL ready if they show up to camp in September ready to compete for an NHL roster spot. With two first round picks, and two second round picks – and some trade worthy pieces, the Sabres could land themselves the ability to change the makeup of their roster and push for the 2013 Stanley Cup.
Two positions the Sabres need the most at the draft are defense and center, with glaring needs at both. While later rounds should be used to stock the farm system with future role players, the speed of free agency makes it a requirement that the Buffalo Sabres land NHL ready players that can contribute out of the draft, damning the system of starting all our prospects in Rochester. This week we look at guys that the Sabres should grab with their 12th overall pick in the 2012 Entry Draft.
With the 12th pick in the first round of the draft, the Buffalo Sabres need to pick up Griffin Reinhart, defense for the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL. Adding Reinhart to the roster makes a lot of sense for the Buffalo Sabres on the blue line. With the tower of power Tyler Myers standing at 6’8″, Reinhart adds even more size with his 6,4′ frame. Ryan Pike of The Hockey Writers has this to say about Reinhart:
“Strangely, the same qualities that have made him a great WHL player are also what may put him “under-the-radar” as far as high-end prospects are concerned. Reinhart is a coach’s ideal of a two-way defender – he’s big (6-foot-4 and 200 pounds), surprisingly mobile for his size and positionally-strong. He’s also blessed with a good eye, something that has come in handy while quarterbacking the Oil Kings power-play.”
There is an authority to the way Reinhart plays the game, he is intimidating, and is ranked eight among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. The biggest part of his game, he is calm and doesn’t panic – something the Sabres need on their back end. At 18, while he has helped the Oil Kings dominate the WHL could need a season in the AHL to learn the pro game, or he can learn the pro game alongside one of the seasoned veterans as part of the Sabres third defense pair.
Listed as high as he is, the Sabres may need to move up in the hopes of grabbing Griffin Reinhart, as any of the eleven teams drafting ahead of the Buffalo Sabres could use his services. The Sabres also have the first round draft pick from the Nashville Predators, thanks to the Darcy Regier trade deadline deal that sent Paul Gaustad and a fourth round pick to Tennessee for a first round pick. Depending on the end of the post season, the Preds pick could have the Sabres back on the board around 27th or so. There are plenty of forwards hanging around in the 22-30 range, and the Sabres would do well to pick up a large center to fill the gap up the middle.