With the sixth pick in the second round, number 37 overall, the Buffalo Sabres have selected...center Marcus Davidsson from the SHL.
Davidsson has a similar skillset to the team’s first round draft pick, Casey Mittelstadt. He’s a great skater, has good hockey sense and plays with energy. He’s a strong two-way player who can be used on both special teams units, and despite not having massive size, he likes to make his presence known in front of the net. The 18-year old Swede is versatile, and can play either center or left wing.
Standing 6’0’’, 192 lbs, Davidsson played last year in the SHL, scoring 9 points in 45 games as an 18-year old. He has represented Sweden in junior tournaments over the past three years, and will likely play for Sweden in the World Juniors next year in Buffalo. Davidsson was rated #12 among European skaters by NHL Central Scouting, and was ranked #31 overall by Kris Baker of Sabres Prospects.
While we still wait for the Sabres to select a goalie or defenseman, it’s clear from his first two picks that Botterill is valuing guys with speed and skill who have a good sense for the two-way game and are in a solid development program against older players, like the SHL or college hockey.
Here’s what a few scouts had to say about Davidsson:
A very competitive two-way player. Davidsson has quick feet and good hockey sense. Reliable defensively and a player that can be used on the man advantage as well as in short handed situations. Team player with decent offensive skills. - Elite Prospects
Marcus Davidsson is a gritty two-way worker who has the look of an opportunistic middle-line pivot when ready to graduate to the North American ranks. When on his game, Davidsson brings loads of speed and energy while causing chaos in front of the opposing goal.
As far as NHL upside is concerned, Davidsson is expected to be one who will thrive in a tight checking scheme with an ability to frustrate the opposing team's skill players, kill penalties and muck his way to modest share of points.
Like so many Swedish forwards before him, Davidsson is focused on the details away from the puck. He likes to buzz all over the ice, applying pressure with a desire to hit and battle in the trenches. He must continue to work on his offensive skills, but no one questions Davidsson's ability to play with an edge. - Kris Baker, Sabresprospects.com