With the Nashville Predators out of the running for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it is not too long before the draft order is set and the Buffalo Sabres know where their second first round draft pick will fall. With six teams remaining the chase for the Stanley Cup, the Sabres final draft pick could fall anywhere from 23 to 26.
With their first round pick 12th overall; we explored four options of NHL ready centers and blue liners that could step into the NHL from their current minor league teams with little or no trouble. With the second selection (received by giving Paul Gaustad to the Nashville Predators along with a fourth round selection) the Buffalo Sabres should still be considering their lack of depth at the center position, but could use the pick to stock the farm.
That is if they keep the pick. If the Sabres are looking to steal the rights of a current NHL player from another team, they could bundle this pick or use it straight up to put an NHL center into the lineup.
Were not going to look trade here, but operate under the pretense that the Buffalo Sabres will use all four of their selections in the first and second round. With the second selection in the first round, look for the Buffalo Sabres to stay in the center position, and pick up Tomas Hertl from Praha HC Slavia.
An offensive threat, his lack of break out speed is compensated by the fact that he will get into the areas that the Buffalo Sabres have difficult times with – the dirty areas of the ice where the battles are won and the goals are scored. According to Bill Placzek the kid needs to work on his defensive game, which shouldn’t be a problem given the mantra of the coaching staff and their onus on defensive zone work. Then again if he is battling in the corners and in front of the net, the coaches may cut him a little slack if he isn’t exactly challenging for the Selke. When looking at this pick, the words that jumped out at me were big, strong, and versatile. He has the ability to play center or the wing. With Lindy’s ability to juggle lines, having the ability to slide the kid to the wing could help his case for playing in blue and gold.
From The Last Word on Sports:
Hertl has the potential to be a top 6 center in the NHL. He’ll be a bit of a project as his skating and his shot need a little bit of work, but his other skills are well developed. We would compare Hertl’s potential to become a player similar to Martin Hanzal of the Phoenix Coyotes.
If the Sabres manage to land Faksa with the 12th overall pick, that would give them some instantly chemistry, and a one two punch in the first round, as Faksa and Hertl were teammates on the Czech team at the 2012 World Juniors.