FanPost

Post Draft Sabres Thoughts!

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Folks -

I'll post my more comprehensive draft thoughts later. But not having looked through the entire draft list, I really like Carolina's Draft. I'm going to use my Big Board to asses some value here, so I may be biased...just warning you.

Alex Nylander, LW/RW, OHL: Big Board Position #6 OA. +2 Value

An absolute fit. When scouts are saying he may be 'the most skilled player in the Draft', well, that's not too shabby at #8. BFLO needed a high end, high-upside winger who can ride shotgun with Eichel or Rino - the latter idea really interests me, as it would be similar to the Canada WJC combo of Domi and Rino - and Nylander has elite agility, creativity and a dangerous shot that he can disguise or release from a variety of angles for good effect. Tremendous awareness, and you could argue he turned Mike McLeod into a Top 15 pick because when he was gone at the WJC (where he was the 6th leading scorer in the tournament) McLeod's production took a nose dive. And he's a willing defender and backchecker. Does he have things to work on? Sure. He needs to go to the middle of the ice more, got stronger, and improve his positioning defensively. But there's no question he can be what he dubbed himself last night, a 'gamebreaker' for a team that needs it.

Rasmus Asplund, C/LW, SWE: Big Board Position #29 OA. +4 Value

Sweden's best centerman at the WJC despite being originally making the team as a bottom 6 winger, Asplund is a do-it-all forward who can play in almost any situation at almost any position, and make a positive impact. He's a bit undersized (5'10 180#), but has great acceleration and overall speed/quickness, vision with the puck, and can pass, score, and defend equally well. He's not going to overpower people or grind them down, and can be pushed off the puck, but he creates turnovers on one end with great positioning and stick work, and chances on the other end with tremendous vision and awareness. A responsible puck possessor.

Cliff Pu, C/RW, OHL: Big Board Position #66 OA. +3 Value

BFLO continues to add speed to the prospect pool, adding a size combo package with Cliff Pu. 6'2 190# and serious wheels, he was ranked as high as #35 overall by McKeen's. Excellent skater in all directions, he loves to go to the dirty areas of the zone and scrap for loose pucks or position. Not especially creative with the puck, he can occasionally make the highlight reel pass, but his goals all come from scrambles in front or tips. Defensively competent, he'll play up and down the line-up and make positive plays all day long. If Tkachuk stays in London next year, I think a Jones - Tkachuk - Pu line will put up some crazy numbers.

Casey Fitzgerald, LD, NCAA **: Big Board Position #195 OA. -109 Value!

BFLO goes WAY off the board here to grab an over-age defenseman who resembles Pysyk in a lot of ways. He can play a simple, safe game focused on moving the puck out of trouble either skating or carrying it. There are two big differences I see in his game this year - one, he plays at a much quicker pace, making quick decisions and executing them without delay, and (in part thanks to BC's transition game) he put up 27P in 39 games, which, if you watched him last year at US NTDP, you'd be surprised. He's smart with the puck, maybe tries to be too physical to offset his lack of size (5'11 180#) but isn't afraid of battling for loose pucks or position. He's a good skater, not great, but plenty mobile to gather up pucks and get them back the other way fast. I expect him to have at least another 2 years at BC before he gets a sniff of the NHL.

Brett Murray, LW, CCHL: Big Board Position #95 OA. +4 Value.

Someone I've been big (no pun intended) on all year, this beast of a winger owns some surprisingly soft hands and a fearsome release on his wrister. Very good vision and awareness for a big guy, and is actually an above average skate for someone 6'5 215#. Not only that, but being a very late birthday suggests he might not have fully grown into his frame yet, and thus potentially has some serious upside. Takes it to the net with abandon, can hold the puck despite taking a beating on the wall or in front, and not awful in his own zone, Murray's a project...but one I think could get an A+ three or four years down the road. Off to Penn State next year, so there's a Pegula connection too.

Philip Nyberg, RHD, SWE **: Big Board Position WHO? -200 Value.

OK, I'll be the first person to admit it...I've never seen this kid, and only heard of him in passing as basically another recruit for Wisconsin. So I can't help you guys with this one. He's an over-ager, he's headed to the U.S. to college hockey (not unlike Ivan Chukarov thus far) and he's a right-shot. After reading the same things you guys probably did, it sounds like he's a great skater and has good size, but that's about all. I do look forward to watching him this year for the Badgers, who should be pretty solid!

Vojtech Budik, LHD, WHL: Big Board Position #71 OA. +58 Value.

I had this solid Czech defender going to BFLO in my first Mock of the year (I think) but in the 2nd round. He plays at Price Albert with Guhle, so BFLO should have plenty of video on him. Thought to have some offensive game, Budik played a much safer game in his first year in N America. Got time on the PK, skillfully cleared the zone and initiated transition, and found himself doing some of the dirty work on or below the goal line for PA. An excellent skater (another one), Budik has shown flashes of offense in international competition, and can lug the puck out of trouble, so there certainly could be another WHL puck mover when all is said and done.

Brandon Hagel, LW, WHL: Big Board Position #123 OA. +36 Value.

Another Estephan? Hagel is a very-late birthday (missed the cut-off by a week) who, like Jake Bean, came out of nowhere as an undrafted kid. Intense, quick to pucks, and possessing a crafty skill game, Hagel's an asset on the wing offensively and defensively, creates turnovers and can rip shots and pick corners in transition. Needs to work on his positional game on both ends, but certainly worth a flier in the 6th on a really young kid who doesn't lack for effort, now just needs to round his offensive game into form.


Austin Osmanski, LHD, OHL: Big Board Position #158 OA. +31 Value.

Local boy, so that's nice. The first thing I thought when I saw the pick was "a replacement for Brady Austin". I know that's not nice, but there it is. Anyway, he's a project. Big, lanky, understands how to use his length. But can handle the puck like a grenade sometimes, and his passing can be particularly wince-inducing (Mike Weber-esque). The kid does have potential, though, and if you can calm him down with the puck on his stick and make him at least a chip-and-chase guy offensively, you could have a depth defender at the NHL level simply due to his size and recognition.

Vasili Glotov, C/RW, RUS **: Big Board Position - N/A. -10 Value.

Another small, slight (5'11 159#) Russian puck wizard, Glotov can dangle in a photo booth (phone booth is so passe), but seems to have no concept of systems and when his team is on offense, he demands the puck and when on D, he chases it around until he corrals it. Oozes offensive talent, as he can snap off rockets or race through a defense in transition before stopping on a dime and making a tough pass, but you wonder if he can be coached to exploit that skill within the confines of a system. An over-ager by just a couple weeks, he could be a diamond in the rough...or he could be all rough. All in all, a nice flier to take.

Final Word:

BFLO needed to add speed and depth on D. They added speed with their first 3 picks and nearly all of their players are solid skaters, Murray and Osmanski notwithstanding, They added depth at D with 4 new defensemen, and a variety of players with different skill sets joined the organization. They also managed to add a number of Euros and US college kids (6 in all) who have extra time to percolate without signing an ELC. I'd give Murray a solid B with this Draft, with the possibility of a B+ depending on which UDFAs he might get into BFLO.

And they got themselves a high-end gamebreaker!

This is a FanPost written by a member of the community. It does not necessarily express the views or opinions of Die By The Blade.