Current team: Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL)
Weight: 185 lbs.
Central Scouting Ranking: 21 (North America)
ISS Ranking: 23
It could be said a few years back that the Sabres had a surplus of young defensive talent. They still do have an impressive group. Rasmus Ristolainen has the look of a serious number one defenseman. Mark Pysyk appears to be the sound middle-pair defenseman than any successful team needs. Nikita Zadorov, despite the slight off-the-ice worries this year, developed nicely for a player that probably should have been in Rochester.
Despite all this, it might be time for the Sabres to start stocking the cupboards again, as Chad Ruhwedel and Jake McCabe are really the only serious up-and-coming defensemen the Sabres have left. There is also one role that the Sabres haven't necessarily filled, and that is the offensive-minded blueliner. Jeremy Roy could fit that bill perfectly.
Roy lead the Sherbrooke Phoenix in points this season despite only playing 46 games. He's not the player who simply just has a fat shot. He understands the game, he knows where people are going to be, and that hockey sense has made him a great passer and great in transition. After the horrid zone entries and exits that have become synonymous with the Sabres lately, it would be a breath of fresh air.
In his rookie season Roy lead the entire QMJHL in points by a defenseman and earned the league's Defensive Rookie of the Year award. He played seven games in the U-18 World Championships this year, scoring three goals and one assist. He won a gold medal with Canada at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial and served as an alternate captain.
He isn't simply an offensive defenseman either, as he's known to be rather dependable in his own zone as well. What brings him down towards the end of the first round, and it seems to be the only consistently brought up knock against him, is that he isn't enormous. At 6'0" he isn't tiny either, just not as large as some of his draft eligible counterparts.
The Sabres have their size on the blue line already with players like Zadorov, Bogosian and Ristolainen. Roy is cut out from a different mold, one that is absent on the Sabres roster currently.They'd be smart to snag a player with Roy's intelligence and offensive abilities with the 21st pick.
What Are They Saying
"Jeremy Roy is a gifted two-way defenceman that establishes his presence on the ice through playing authoritative hockey, with and without the puck. His absolute and total awareness of other players' positions on the ice is a testament to his incredible knowledge of the game. Roy possesses the intangibles of maturity and character that can't be taught, as well as the individual skill that turns heads every time he is on the ice. All-in-all, a highly intelligent defenceman that plays high-percentage hockey and is a catalyst for positive plays in all three zones."
-Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects
"An offensively gifted defenseman who is solid in the defensive zone...has a real smooth stride and is pretty mobile...very mature game with strong positioning and smart with the puck...tough to separate from it as he has a heavy stick...makes terrific passes and rarely has anything intercepted...has a good point shot as well and he gets it on net...has the vision and creativity to QB a PP...solid defensively, using his smarts and his strong stick to break up plays and take away chances...uses his strength on defense to play physically down low and contain his man...used in all situations...a big presence on the ice and slows down the play when the puck is on his stick."
"When talking to scouts about Jeremy Roy, the name Duncan Keith often shows up in the same sentence; the offensive and defensive traits embodied by the Chicago Blackhawks star defenseman seem to be akin to what the young Roy aspires to."
"Roy can also quarterback a power play, and the fact that he's a right-shot defenseman makes him a more valuable commodity. 'He has really good hockey sense and moves the puck really well,' said another scout. 'He's just a good all-around player. You wish he was just a little bigger, but in the end, if they battle and they have good hockey sense, they're going to be OK, and I think Jeremy Roy is one of those players."
-The Hockey News