This is the second-to-last entry in my Buffalo Sabres Wish List series, with one more to come later today. (Sorry to cram three down your throats in one day, but the regular season starts tomorrow! I need to get focused!)
As I thought about which player I would highlight on the Winnipeg Jets squad, it seemed as if Evander Kane was going to earn bragging rights. At the last second, though, I remembered that Zach Bogosian was from Massena, NY, and that suddenly became important to me.
Zach Bogosian, D
No – I didn’t pick Bogosian solely because he is something of a local boy. He had been on my radar all along, and his local ties helped to make this a “nice” story . . . but come on: dude can play.
While he may still be a bit of a diamond-in-the-rough, we’ve been saying all summer that defensemen take a little longer to learn how to play the NHL game than forwards do (usually), so the fact that Bogosian still has untapped potential shouldn’t scare anybody off. Obviously, it didn’t scare off the Jets, who signed him to a seven-year contract over the summer. Short of some team (ahem, Buffalo!) making the Jets an absolutely “can’t refuse” sort of offer, Bogosian will be manning the blueline for the Jets for quite some time.
So what would make Bogosian a valuable addition to the Sabres blueline? For starters, he’s one more good-sized d-man who, at 6’3” and 215 lbs., will give Buffalo an army of jackhammers to throw at the opposition. Picture Bogosian and Rasmus Ristolainen, or Nikita Zadorov, skating together on shifts. Sick.
His scouting report will tell you that he has great mobility for someone his size, so he’s not going to get exposed a la Zdeno Chara against the zippy Chicago Blackhawks during last year’s Stanley Cup Finals. Bogosian is actually the guy you want to match up against opposing forwards, as he has the tendency to turn them invisible. He’s also not afraid to join the rush, he can man the point during power plays, and when he tees it up, he fires cannon balls at the opposing goaltenders.
And you know what I love about Bogosian? Read his comments about the idea of playing in the 2014 Winter Olympics:
“I wouldn’t have to change my style too much,” he said. “The big ice will probably help with my skating, but also I want to play physical. Tournaments like this tend to have some smaller players, the majority of them are skilled guys, so you get to be physical against them as long as you’re aware of where they are on the ice and that’s my game.” Quotation courtesy of The Hockey News.
He wants to go out there and hit some skilled players in Sochi – how adorable! He’s a gamer, this guy, who wants to compete with, and shut down, players at the highest level. That’s what I want to see in everyone who plays for the Buffalo Sabres, and that’s why Zach Bogosian is the one player on the Winnipeg Jets I would want to see suit up in the blue and gold.
Thoughts on Bogosian and the Winnipeg Jets? Leave them below, or @theamazingMrS.