If you would’ve asked me a couple weeks ago about the “rebuild” of the Buffalo Sabres, I would have laughed at you. Now though, with some progress being made, i.e. finally canning Darcy Regier - I think we can now call it a true and full-fledged rebuild.
First things first, the team needs a GM – which is the first task for Pat LaFontaine. Let’s fast forward to after a GM is named though – coaching aside, who do you build the new Buffalo Sabres around?
There is a lot of young talent on the team, and several players will easily be candidates to make up the new core of the Sabres – but who is the one player that the GM should build the foundation with?
Back in the summer of 2012 I would have answered that question with Mikhail Grigorenko – selected 12th overall by Buffalo in the 2012 draft. Grigorenko was drafted to be the next Sabres superstar and #1 center. He has tremendous skill, has the ability to score goals and make great passes/plays. What more could you want? Unfortunately for Mikhail, Buffalo is looking for some hustle and hard work as well – aka showing your organization that you want to be a superstar in the NHL.
As of right now, I would build the team around the Sabres second pick from that June – Zemgus Girgensons, selected 14th overall. Girgensons, unlike Grigorenko, was able to play in Rochester last season – which enabled him to gain some experience and figure out how he would fit into the Sabres organization. This season, Girgensons was able to crack the teams NHL roster and hasn’t looked back since. He has played in 22 out of 23 games, and has 1 goal and 5 assists.
Girgensons is exactly what the Sabres are looking for…
- A big center
- Hard worker
- Hustle’s every shift
- Goal scorer
These are all the qualities on the Sabres checklist, and Girgensons checks them all off. So as I mentioned, he would be the perfect player to build a team around – I will even go out on a limb and say that he is the future captain of the Buffalo Sabres. This isn’t to say that Grigorenko can’t become a superstar for the Sabres – it is just more apparent in my eyes that Girgensons will succeed with the Sabres.
Enough about my opinion, who is your pick? Looking forward to the future…