The Buffalo Sabres drafted Mikhael Grigorenko, a big center with the 12th pick in the NHL Draft. The Sabres then used the 21st pick, a pick acquired in the Paul Gaustad trade, and 42nd pick to move up to the number 14 pick. They used this pick to draft another center, Zemgus Girgensons. Girgensons is a physical center who could be a very solid 3rd line center for the Sabres in 3-4 years.
The Sabres needed centers and they addressed it in a big way. Grigorenko, currently playing in the QMJHL, is a big, talented center. He won CHL rookie of the year, scoring 40 goals. His game has been compared to being a mix of Evgeni Malkin, Joe Thronton and Jason Spezza. If his game is anywhere close to that, the Sabres got a steal at the number 12 pick. The worry about Grigorenko was that he may go to the KHL. In his post draft interview, he seemed to put a stop to those worries, saying he does not want to go there. Best of all, the Sabres see him as a player that could make the team as early as next season.
The Sabres moved up to take Girgensons, as they did not believe that he would drop to the number 21 pick. In getting Girgensons, they got a hard-nosed center with some skill. His game has drawn comparisons to Ryan Kesler, Dustin Brown and David Backes. These are all players that I would love the Sabres to have. He is known as the Latvian Locomotive. Scouts say he only has a top gear. In a game against the US Development team, he broke his jaw and came back out the next shift. I expect that Girgensons could top out as a great 3rd line center. He is expected to go back to either the NCAA or WHL next season.
I thought the Sabres has an excellent 1st round. It is very difficult to get centers in the NHL and the Sabres got 2 top-ten talents. I am very excited to see the development of both players. Darcy Regier and Kevin Devine should both be very pleased with themselves.