When it was all said and done this weekend in Pittsburgh, the future of the Buffalo Sabres looks more skilled, tougher, and much bigger, especially down the middle.
Sabres GM Darcy Regier went into the draft looking for size, director of amateur scouting Kevin Devine summed up the Sabres draft plans thusly: "We kind of had a theme here the last couple of months: Bigger, faster, tougher." That theme was obvious, as the Sabres selected eight player in this year's daft, all of whom are 6'1'' or taller.
What was interesting about this draft, and to many fans most exciting, is that we saw Darcy to some very un-Darcy things. He took a risk on a high boom-or-but player in Grigorenko rather than playing it safe. He took another calculated risk by giving up a second round pick to move up in the first to select Girgensons. He showed no fear in taking European players; the man who was once a borderline xenophobe after getting burned by Marek Zagrapan took a Russian, a Latvian, and a Swede.
One would assume that this is partly due to both the influence and checkbook of owner Terry Pegula. With a new mantra to win the Cup rather than turn a profit, Regier is more free - or has a mandate - to take the kinds of calculated risks that exist in a Grigorenko and a Girgensons. Those two players could end up turning into Jason Spezza and Ryan Callahan, or they could end up being Alex Radulov and Paul Gaustad. But for the first time in recent memory, Regier seems to willing to roll the dice to find out.
It was certainly an exciting draft for Sabres fans, especially after last year's "Huh?" selection of Joel Armia, a player that many casual fans had never heard of. But excitement only last a few days - so in the grad scheme of things, Sabres fans, how would you rate this draft?