With little more than one month away until the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh, the Buffalo Sabres board of prospects should be pretty long, as they have four picks in first sixty selections of the draft. Using them wisely could set the team up for some short term success, and long term building.
With the first selection in the draft where the Sabres are selecting 12th overall, the team should really be focused on adding a near NHL ready or NHL ready prospect that can step in and help fill some of the voids we found in our team last year. With the second first round pick, the one received from the Nashville Predators in the trade deadline deal that saw Paul Gaustad’s time here in Buffalo come to an end, the Buffalo Sabres should be looking at taking a guy who might need a year or two in Portland, but will be ready to fill in and challenge for a role in the very near future.
Yesterday we entertained options of grabbing a Czech center with the second pick, and today we stay across the ocean but going more North, and looking towards the blue line.
Can you go wrong picking a Swede on your back end? Mattias Ekholm, Tobias Enstrom, Jonathan Ericsson, Johan Fransson, Henrik Tallinder, Erik Karlsson, Mattias Karlsson, Niklas Kronwall, Nicklas Lidstrom and Jounny Oduya are just a few of the good Swede defensemen playing in the NHL, and there is no stopping the ability of Tres Kronos from developing great NHL caliber and world class players.
With that in mind – the Buffalo Sabres should consider Swedish blue liner Hampus Lindholm. At 6’2″ – he fits in with the rest of the Sabres defensive corp. Currently playing with Rogle BK in the Swedish Elitserien league, he will need some time to adjust to the North American game, but shouldn’t have to season too long in the minors before he takes the final bus trip from Rochester to Buffalo.
A good skater, likes to jump into the rush and play offensive hockey – but never forgets his defensive assignments. His aggressive play puts him out of position at times, but that is something that coaching can overcome. Some mock drafts have him going higher, as he is one of the better European’s in the draft, however with the depth at the defensive position, and his few listed flaws – the Sabres could get lucky and sneak away with a great pick in the late first round.