So far we have looked at scenarios that have brought a new center and a new defenseman, today we keep the Blue and Gold going up the middle with another selection at center being a good fit with the number 12 overall selection in the 2012 Entry Draft. With today’s mock selection, the Buffalo Sabres will select, from the Dubuque Fighting Saints, Zemgus Girgensons.
A tricky pick for the Buffalo Sabres because the kid has committed to the University of Vermount. As one of the best possible two way players in the draft this year, Girgensons might be worth the wait if he does all four years as a Catamount. His coach in Dubuque used words that should have Darcy Regier salivating over the thought about bringing Zemgus, originally from Latvia to the Buffalo Sabres. Hes dominant down the middle, a complete player who works as hard defensively as he does offensively. Sounds like a guy that can work in Lindy’s system.
While Latvia may not seem like the bed of hockey prospects, Arturs Irbe, Sandis Ozolinsh, and Karlis Skrastins all hailed from the nation which is starting to be relevant in the hockey world. Relevant is exactly what Girgensons wants his career to be. With 20 plus goals in both seasons of USHL play, and very little time in the penalty box, the smart young forward could be seen as a model for efficiency and consistency, so long as the development continues.
At 6’2″, Girgenson also fulfills a need for this team to get bigger. A former first round draft pick of CSKA Mosco of the KHL, and the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL. He already comes in with a nickname too, as the Latvian Locomotive has used his size, skill, determination, and gritty style of play to be a worthy top ten draft pick. With the defensive heavy draft this year, the Buffalo Sabres could indeed see this pick fall to the 12th spot where they need Girgensons to be to pick him up.
Comparable to Jonathan Toews and Ryan Kesler, the biggest draw back to the Latvian center is his committment to play for the NCAA – which could be a blessing in desguise to assist him in learning and developing towards the pro game more, and adding size and speed needed in order to contribute in the NHL. At four years in the NCAA, Girgensons should be considered a draft pick for the future, and while he may be a good fit organizationally, he does not fit into the three year plan. Picking Girgensons could tell fans alot about the organization and where they think they stand.
Tune in tomorrow for our final selection for the first round first pick of the 2012 draft in Pittsburgh, where we will once again look defense. Next week we will look at the second first round draft pick the Buffalo Sabres own courtesy of the Nashville Predators and Paul Gaustad.