While the NHL has whittled its field down to the final four teams over the past two weeks, we have looked at the first two draft selections that the Buffalo Sabres will have in the 2012 Entry Draft at the end of June. With two first round draft picks, the Sabres could position themselves in a way that will solidify key positions desperately in need of depth and upgrade.
On the heels of the first round where they hold the 12th and 21st selection, we now move into the second round, where the team holds two selections as well, their own pick at the 42nd overall spot, and the second round selection of the Calgary Flames, the 44th overall selection, that they received when they traded Chris Butler and Paul Byron to the Flames in exchange for Robyn Regher, Alex Kotalik, and a second round selection.
The Sabres could use their second round picks and any of their prospects to move into the first round again and steal three first round selection in this years draft, or they could even use the second roun picks to help pay a team for a player that is NHL ready and able to make an impact on the coming season. Were only going to explore options that actually have the Buffalo Sabres selecting actual picks with each of their four selections. Follow the jump to see who the first name on the board for the Buffalo Sabres should be when the 42nd overall pick comes into play. Having already been on stage twice, the league should have a pretty good idea of what the Buffalo Sabres plan for the immediate and long range future would be. Second round draft picks could be NHL ready, but your more likely going to get a product that will require some seasoning in the minors prior to hitting the big stage. Where the team needed to focus on NHL ready players in the first round, Darcy Regier can look for project players with these two picks.
Committed to the University of Wisconsin, C Nicolas Kerdiles is the developmental and could be future number one center for the Buffalo Sabres. Kerdiles is a product of the USA, and models his game after Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews. With his size, he has the ability to play the gritty game that many Sabres teams since the lockout have been incapable of playing. Not just a tough guy, he led Team USA in scoring during the 2012 U18 World Juniors.
Kerdiles commitment to the NCAA makes him a good choice here, as the Sabres can foster his development while he is in school, as well as keep a watchful eye on when the kid is ready to make the jump to the professional game, either right to Buffalo or with a spot on the Americans first.