While it is fantastic news that the Buffalo Sabres will be selecting first overall, and undoubtedly Rasmus Dahlin, at the 2018 NHL Draft in June, the options available to them at the first selection in the second round should excite and bring a very good player to the organization.
Getting right into potential prospects available at the 32nd overall pick, we start on the blue line with the defensemen.
Alexander Alexeyev, LHD, Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
Alexander Alexeyev can play a consistent and uneventful two-way game for 30+ minutes a night. He has done so many times with Red Deer. It is the offensive outbursts he has had as a result of creeping up into play that really catches the eye.
The 6’3”, 200lbs defender can make some terrific plays happen with his hands in the offensive zone but still has some room to grow. There are gaffes in the defensive zone that come down to footwork and positioning. The base is there for Alexeyev to become a solid two-way defender that can provide an offensive and transition spark.
Jonny Tychonick, LHD, Penticton Vees (BCHL)
Tychonick is a North Dakota commit currently playing in the BCHL. He is a confident puck mover that has a fluid stride and creates offense through intelligent playmaking ability. He also carries a very strong shot and for a smaller defender carries power.
Playing in the NCAA will be a huge help to Tychonick who has done all of the developing he can offensively and defensively in the BCHL with the Vees. In terms of areas to work on, Tychonick has troubles in gap control coming back and with decision making when pinching or transitioning to defense.
Sean Durzi, RHD, Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
Sean Durzi is an overage defenseman this year but has been ranked as a possible 2nd-5th round selection this June. Durzi is an offensive dynamo that really puts things together for his offense. He moves smoothly and picks spots to use speed very well, especially when coming into play in the offensive zone.
Durzi can work on his shot and his defensive positioning but both have improved greatly since last season. He is undersized but the way that he plays that should not hinder his chance to get drafted this year.
Now here are some options to consider on offense for the 32nd pick.
Ty Dellandrea, C, Flint Firebirds (OHL)
It may be wishful thinking to have Ty Dellandrea get to the second round but crazier things happen at the draft all the time. Dellandrea is a skilled two-way center that brings high energy Sabres fans would love to eventually see at the NHL level.
He can make plays in the o-zone mostly through instinct. Holds great intuition when dishing the puck and thinks two steps ahead. Lacks that intuition at times int he defensive zone but that is a trait that can be worked on at the professional level.
Dominik Bokk, RW, Vaxjo (SHL)
The first thing that sticks out in Dominik’s game is his stickhandling ability, which has been covered nationally. Bokk has incredible hands that open up spaces in the offensive zone and create chances for the entire attacking team. Bokk also is able to pick up speed with and without the puck which should be a key goal for the Sabres when selecting a prospect in the early rounds.
Coming into the SHL this year it was clear that Bokk is not ready to play in the defensive zone against a professional team. There were lackadaisical mistakes made in coverage and at times was outmuscled.
Jake Wise, C, USNTDP (U-18)
Jake Wise is another option at the first pick in the second round that possesses some incredible skill in the offensive portion of his game. Wise seems to be a playmaking center that thrives on working with his wingers to create chances. He can put passes through tight windows and loves to work the puck around as much as possible. Wise can shoot but does not use that facet of his game as much as his saucer pass.
There is work to be done with his footwork and with power in his legs when used for his shot and skating. Wise does carry himself very well in the defensive zone at the junior level but will be tested at Boston University next year.
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