So far we’ve focused on defensemen and wingers in these 2018 NHL Draft prospect profiles. The Buffalo Sabres are still pretty deep at center with Jack Eichel, Rasmus Asplund, Cliff Pu, Sean Malone, Casey Mittelstadt and at the moment Ryan O’Reilly.
Even though that’s a position of strength at the moment, like defense, you can never have too much depth down the middle. It’s a critical position that is always in demand around the league.
This draft isn’t full of centers, but Ty Dellandrea is an intriguing prospect that may be getting overlooked.
Weight: 190 lbs.
Team: Flint Firebirds
Dellandrea is a player I’m getting to late in my draft evaluations. I’ve focused on defenders and wingers since those are the bigger needs for the Sabres.
Going back and watching some U18 World Junior video I saved, the 17-year-old center stands out. He’s a big kid that is a very good skater. Dellandrea can beat the defense in a few ways with his puck skills or use his good mix of size and speed to drive the net.
One of the things that are most impressive about his skating is how quickly he can get to full speed. He has great acceleration and is at full speed in two or three strides.
Dellandrea played for Flint last season, who was one of the worst teams in the OHL. The Toronto native was their offense primarily and played in all situations. Playing on such a poor team may have hurt his draft rankings this year.
Even though his team was so bad, he managed to put up good numbers with 29 goals and 57 points in 67 games. Dellandrea also showed well in the U18 World Juniors for Canada with five points in five games.
He’s a good two-way center that can be a nice second or third line center for a team down the road. Some more polishing in the defensive end come to do him good as well as improvement on his face offs.
It’ll be interesting to see if the team who drafts him forces a trade for him off of Flint to a better junior team.
Like I said before, you can never have too many centers. If Dellandrea slides down the board to 32nd overall the Sabres should absolutely consider him.
When all is said in done, I believe he’ll hear his name called on day one in the 25-30 range. With the lack of depth at center in this draft, teams will be anxious to grab them early if they see it as a need.