Sabres Draft Prospect #5: Aleksander Barkov, Center
This 6’2″ center from Finland was second on his team (Tappara) in scoring with 48 points (21-27-48) despite missing the end of the season with a shoulder injury, helping Tappara finish second in the league. He is the number one-ranked European skater, and Bleacher Report lists him as the second best center in the draft, behind only Nathan MacKinnon. He is a true two-way player, solid on both the offensive and defensive ends of the ice,
Why the Sabres Would Draft Barkov
As much as Cody Hodgson has grown, the Buffalo Sabres lack of depth at center really crippled their offense last season. Adding Barkov to the roster would give the Sabres three (hopefully) quality centers in Hodgson, Grigorenko, and Barkov, plus the fearsome Steve Ott, giving Ron Rolston and his crew all sorts of line combinations to employ.
Why the Sabres Would Pass on Barkov
Honestly, there are no good reasons to pass on this kid. What’s the worst criticism – that he has to continue developing his offensive game to fit the NHL? Doesn’t every prospect have to do that? If the Sabres find themselves in a position where this kid is the best player available, and they fail to pick him, you have my permission to call for GM Darcy Regier to be tarred and feathered.