Weight: 205 lbs
Date of Birth: 12/11/1997
Place of Birth: Nizhnekamsk, Russia
Current Team: Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
ISS Ranking: 10
One of the biggest needs for the Buffalo Sabres is a top-tier left handed defenseman, and one who won't take three years to make it to the NHL. Last week we profiled Jakob Chychrun, but another strong option at pick 8 would be Russian defenseman Mikhail Sergachev.
Standing 6'2'' and 205 lbs, Sergachev has good NHL size with room to add bulk. He also has the feet to play in the NHL tomorrow - his skating has been described anywhere from fluid to elite, and he matches that smoothness on the ice with a calm, cool, collected approach to handling and passing the puck. What can't be described as calm is Sergachev's big point shot. Tim Murray said the Sabres still need a power play quarterback, and Sergachev could be the man who eventually fills that role. He keeps forwards at bay with his strong frame and solid positioning, and could be the Mikhail who redeems that name in Buffalo.
What the experts are saying
A dominant two-way defenceman whose tenacity and competitiveness characterize his style of play. Plays with a poise and confidence that facilitates his creativity with the puck as well as split-second decision making. Naturally fluid skater who is always looking to be engaged, if not the center, of each unfolding play. All-in-all, a diligent two-way defenceman who excels at finding ways to be a difference-maker in games.
- Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects
Possessing high upside, Sergachev is a big-rig with enough skill and finesse to do just about everything on defense. The Windsor Spitfires product won the OHL's Max Kaminsky Trophy as the OHL's Most Outstanding Defenseman following a 17-goal, 40-assist regular season. He is connected to the play often, likes to jump into the rush, and has all the tools to eventually transition to the NHL playing big minutes as a reliable two-way defender.
- Hockey's Future
The consistent two-way stalwart didn't speak a lick of the English language when he arrived in Windsor, but it didn't stop him from being an immediate contributor. Sergachev took command from day one, smoothly and nimbly gliding up ice carrying the puck with his head up, but he was perhaps even more noticeable with his all-around intensity and aggressive hitting game. His timing when making contact is impeccable, often allowing him to fully leverage his strength on impact to solidly cancel out his checks.
As a whole, Sergachev is a polished defender with a well-developed three-zone acumen. He's the type of player that will take the puck deep into the offensive zone, and then quickly retreat on the backcheck and break up a play in front of his net
- Kris Baker, Sabres.com
Note: Normally I don't comment on the highlight videos, but this one is just too amazing not to share. From the wolf eyes to the music to the interspersed family photos, it's just amazing.