|Rasmus Ristolainen (Getty Images)
The 2013 NHL Draft has come and gone and national pundits are coming out with their initial draft grades. The Buffalo Sabres made 11 selections in the draft, including two in the first round and five in the top 52.
We won’t see the real results of this draft for another few years, but here’s what they’re saying around North America about Buffalo’s day in Newark, N.J.:The Hockey News: “Draft Winner”
“The Sabres used two picks in 2012 to shore up the middle of the franchise, taking Mikhail Grigorenko
and Zemgus Girgensons
in the first round. This time, they went with a pair of big defenders in Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov,” Ryan Kennedy wrote. “The Sabres are becoming quite adept at filling their needs lately.”
Sports Illustrated: A+
“The Sabres had an obvious need for size and talent on the back end and GM Darcy Regier addressed it in a way that exceeded the highest hopes of the team’s fans,” Allan Muir said. “Add in the trade that netted defenseman Jamie McBain from Carolina and the day could not have gone better for this rebuilding franchise.
The Sporting News: A
“Added needed size on the blue line with two first-round picks,” Jesse Spector said. “Made a solid trade, sending Andrej Sekera to Carolina for Jamie McBain and one of those second-rounders.”
NHL.com: “Made Noise”
“If the Sabres are moving into a rebuilding phase, adding 11 players in what has been projected as a deep and talented draft class is a good place to start,” staff writer Corey Masisak wrote. “They also added a potential power forward and hometown kid with Justin Bailey in the second round.”
“The blue line was a big need for the Buffalo system, and they addressed it as well as they could with their first two selections,” Grant Sonier wrote. “This was a really strong draft for the Sabres.”
CBS Sports: A- (Grades for First Round Only)
“The Sabres drafted the best available defenseman and Ristolainen should move right to the top of their defensive prospects depth chart,” hockey writer Chris Peters said.