With the 8th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Fansided Mock Draft, the Buffalo Sabres pick Elias Lindholm of Brynas IF in Elitserien.
In a truly democratic process, the fans at Sabre Noise decided upon Lindholm, selecting him over players such as Aleksander Barkov and Darnell Nurse, both of whom were still available at the time our poll started.
Lindholm, the number three prospect on Central Scouting’s ranking of European players, has been projected to go no lower than 8th in the draft, and as high as 4th in some 2013 NHL draft prospect rankings. This past season, he spent his first full year in the Swedish Elite League skating for Brynas, and his 30 points (11 goals and 19 assists) in 48 games led all junior players in the Elitserien. Lindholm also played for the Swedish U20 team that won a silver medal at the U20 World Junior Championship, notching 2 goals and 2 assists.
So what do Sabres fans see in Lindholm? For starters, they see a potentially deadly offensive weapon to add to the Sabres arsenal, a second- or even first-line center who CBS Sports called “one of the best playmakers in this draft year . . . a crafty player who makes everyone around him better.” In 2012-2013, the Sabres’ offense was ranked number 22 in the NHL, scoring an average of 2.46 goals per game. A major concern heading into the season was the Sabres’ lack of quality depth at center, and based on the regular season results, the Sabres should still be concerned. With the exception of Cody Hodgson, none of the centers currently on the roster ranked among the top 30 centers in the NHL, and Tyler Ennis was the only Sabres’ center who tallied more than 20 assists over the course of the season. The Sabres don’t simply need goal scorers; they need players who can score and create opportunities for the other players around them, and that is exactly the sort of promise Lindholm carries with him.
For more on Lindholm, check out what Hockey’s Future had to say about him, and then check out some of his highlights below:
Lindholm is an extremely talented player who is already an important offensive contributor for his top men’s league team. Possesses incredible hands, stickhandling skills and passing capabilities for a player his age. Displays well above-average ability to read and understand the game. Elias is strong at side-stepping checks and interpreting where opponents intend to pass or where they plan on skating, taking advantage of this to often pick off passes or hold up opposing skaters. Makes wonderful use of the ice and is strong in transition.