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NHL Entry Draft, Sabres Picks Recap [VIDEOS]

Buffalo Sabres 2012 NHL Entry Draft picks Mikhail Grigorenko, 12th overall, and Zemgus Girgensons, 14th overall (Jamie Sabau, Getty Images)

It’s been exciting to see the Bills addressing their needs in the offseason on defense, and during the 2012 NHL Entry Draft over the weekend, it was exciting to see the Buffalo Sabres address some needs as well with what could turn out to be some long-term solutions at the center position.

The Sabres had two first-round and two second-round picks, and Darcy Regier and his scouting staff did a real nice job with the all of them. The first two picks are solid and could be the long-term answers we need at that center position. There’s no question that over the last few seasons, we have lacked great centers.

With their first pick, 12th overall, the Sabres selected Russian Mikhail Grigorkenko, who most recently played junior hockey for the Quebec Remparts; in 59 games, he had 40 goals and 45 assists.  The 18 year old is listed at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds. Grigorenko could compete for a roster spot on the Sabres in the 2012-2013 season.

Buffalo also had the 21st overall pick but made a trade to move up in the draft and grab the 14th pick. Clearly the Sabres saw someone on the board that they wanted and moved up because they didn’t think he’d be there at pick 21. For the higher slot, they traded away the 21st and and the 42nd picks.

With that 14th pick, the Sabres got another center, Latvian Zemgus Girgensons, who is 18 years old, 6-foot-2 and 198 pounds. He most recently played in the USHL for the Dubuque Fighting Saints; he was the team captain, and he scored 24 goals and had 31 assists. Girgensons will not have an immediate impact on the Sabres roster, as he will be playing NCAA hockey for the Vermont Catamounts.

As I mentioned earlier, the Sabres made some great picks throughout the whole draft and addressed some other needs, including adding defensemen Jake McCabe, Brady Austin and Judd Peterson; two more centermen, Justin Kea and Logan Nelson; and goaltender Linus Ullmark. Only time will tell how these picks will work out; most of them we will wear a Sabres uniform for a few years. But I have confidence in Darcy Regier and the scouting staff in Buffalo. We always seem to have good talent waiting in the wings.

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: It’s an exciting time to be a Buffalo fan! The Sabres picks have me excited, and the Sabres should be ready to make some more moves to improve the roster for the upcoming season when free agency begins on July 1. Enjoy the ride!

Zemgus Girgensons Highlights

Mikhail Grigorenko Highlights

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