Buffalo really needed a defenseman in the draft and looked to be in good shape when Marc Staal, a Sudbury blueliner, continued to fall towards them. However, the damn New York Rangers swooped in one spot ahead of the Sabres and took him. The next best defenseman was Ryan Parent, who I am not particularly enamoured with, as he’s a defensive defenseman and we need a guy who can provide some offense from the back. Thankfully, the Sabres drafted the best PLAYER available in Marek Zagrapan, a highly skilled centre from the Quebec Major Junior League. He looks as if he could be a star if he bulks up a bit.
Buffalo stocked up on defenseman later in the draft and really got a good one in the sixth round in Slava Buravchikov, the highest rated Russian defenseman in the entire draft. The reason he fell so far is because there is a new rule in place that you must sign all European players within two years of drafting them or else they go back into the draft. I guess Buravchikov is going to be a tough signing (still may have army commitments in Russia) so people shied away from him. Regardless, he is a supreme offensive defenseman and hopefully the Sabres can get him signed sometime next year.
Overall, I’m relatively satisfied with Buffalo’s draft. I don’t like their second round pick much (a German left winger I had never heard about) but everyone else looks decent. Only time will tell.
EDIT: NOVEMBER 2019
So, I’m going through my blog, updating some code in preparation for my move from Blogspot over to WordPress and I can only smile reading posts like this. Zagrapan ended up being a huge bust, never playing a game in the NHL. I was right about Ryan Parent, who didn’t amount to much either while I was right about Marc Staal, who carved out a steady and very long career in the league. Buravchikov never made it over to North America either.