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06-18-2013, 03:06 PM
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Hockey’s Future 2013 Staff Mock Draft:
8. Buffalo Sabres

Elias Lindholm, C, Brynas (SEL)

Elias Lindholm is the best player available, and even though the Sabres have taken a lot of centers, they can never have enough depth. It would be easier to move centers to the wing than a wing to center, especially with players like Tyler Ennis and Cody Hodgson both sporting sub-50% faceoff percentages in their career. The Sabres have a pretty good crop of young defensemen (Mark Pysyk, Brayden McNabb, Jake McCabe), but none are guaranteed first pairing material and each have glaring holes in their game so far. Darnell Nurse would have brought a lot of athleticism and nastiness to the blue line, but as he is off the board, the Sabres take the best player available.
16. Buffalo Sabres (from Minnesota)

Nikita Zadorov, D, London Knights (OHL)

It is a close call between Zadorov and Ryan Pulock. Having used their earlier pick on a forward, it makes sense to shore up the blue line a bit, especially after missing out on Darnell Nurse. Zadorov gets the edge with his much bigger size at 6'4 and 200 pounds along with good mobility for a big defenseman.

Zadorov has been inconsistent all year, but with several offensively-minded defensive prospects already in the system, a potential shutdown player is more likely than other available players Ryan Pulock, Shea Theodore, or Mirco Mueller. Zadorov is a low-risk selection even though he must develop his consistency, but the Russian blueliner has the tools to develop into a top-four defenseman in the NHL.
I can't argue with that result.

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