Sabres fans can finally take solace in the fact that the team has a pair of big, talented centers in the system. Buffalo chose Mikhail Grigorenko with the 12th overall pick and then trade up to select Zemgus Girgensons at number 14.
Grigorenko’s stock had slid in recent weeks with allegations that he was basically a typical, lazy Russian and those allegations allowed the Sabres to snag him at 12. However, Grigorenko was still the third-ranked North American skater entering the draft. His 85 point season (40+45) for Quebec in the QMJHL shows as much. Based on the way the opening picks played out, Buffalo was fortunate to pretty much have their pick of the littler based on who was available at 12. Their obvious need for a center and Grigorenko’s availability made for an easy choice of the best player available.
The selection of Girgensons wrapped up a 365-day cycle between the Sabres and Flames that began at the 2011 Draft when Buffalo acquired Robyn Regehr. To get up to 14, Regier hit up Jay Feaster, who is quickly becoming the target for Regier’s most maniacal trade propositions. Buffalo was able to leap seven spots to select Girgensons with the 14th pick.
The price to move up was Buffalo’s second first-round pick (21 from Nashville) and their own second-round pick (42) in this year’s draft. The Sabres still have pick 44, acquired from Calgary last season. Calgary chose to take Mark Jankowski, a forward from a Quebec high school prep league, slated to play for NCAA
powerhouse doormat, Providence next season. Jankowski probably projects to a four or five-year project and has many question marks surrounding the competition he played against prior to the draft.
To recap, Regier traded Paul Byron, Chris Butler and the pick that became Jankowski for Robyn Regehr and the pick that became Girgensons. The second round pick exchanged is basically a wash since the Sabres retain the pick they received from the Flames in 2011. Suffice it to say I am okay with the way that shook out. Continue reading