Listen to Darcy Regier’s post-draft media conference.
UPDATED (1:45 p.m.)Listen to Kevin Devine’s post-draft media conference.
Read below each pick as Devine, Buffalo’s Director of Amateur Scouting, gives his assessment of each player Buffalo selected on Day Two of the 2012 Entry Draft.
Defenseman Jake McCabe
from the University of Wisconsin was Buffalo’s first pick on day two, coming in the 44th spot of the second round. McCabe had 12 points (3+9) in his freshman season with the Badgers in 2011-12. The 18-year-old from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, describes himself as a steady defender, comparing his game to Dan Girardi of the New York Rangers.
“I’m a two-way defenseman. I’m used in all situations; I’m comfortable in all situations. I think I’m a leader, out there blocking shots for my teammates. I’m a competitor, at my best when I’m making a good first hit. I just want to be reliable in all situations, penalty kill, power play. Eventually I want to be comfortable taking on a team’s top line.”
DEVINE SAYS: “We actually McCabe rated at the end of the first round. We weren’t sure if we were going to get a forward or defense, but he was too high up on our board. He played for (Rochester head coach) Ron Rolston before, so we know about his character.”
WATCH: McCabe's press conference
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Buffalo went big down the middle with their fourth pick of the 2012 Draft, selecting centerman Justin Kea from the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit. The 18-year-old from Port Perry, Ont., already stands a hulking six-foot-four, and checks in at 212 pounds. He’s played two seasons with the Spirit, finishing last season with 14 points (3+11) and 76 penalty minutes in 65 games.
DEVINE SAYS: “If you look at his stats, they weren’t very good during the regular season. But (Saginaw) fired their coach during the season, and now he’s playing for Greg Gilbert, a guy Darcy and I both know. (Gilbert) thinks that he’ll be a good third-liner center in the NHL; a better-skating Paul Gaustad.”
The Sabres traded this pick (103rd overall) to the NY Islanders last June in exchange for the rights to UFA Christian Ehrhoff.
Buffalo adds to their depth at center with the selection of Logan Nelson from the Victoria Royals of the Western Hockey League at 133 overall. Nelson, who turns 19 in September, was passed over in last year’s draft while playing in the USHL with Des Moines. The six-foot-one Nelson had 62 points (23+39) in 71 games for the Royals, along with 70 penalty minutes. In an interview with Yahoo! Sports, Nelson said the move to Victoria was necessary for his career development.
“I felt I needed a change of venue,” says Nelson. “I knew the WHL develops players faster and gets them into the NHL. So I pulled the trigger and moved to Victoria.”
DEVINE SAYS: “Nelson is a 1993 Minnesota kid who put up good numbers, and has got a nice gritty, game; good hands. He was at our combine.”
For a change of pace, the Sabres select six-foot-three Swedish goaltender Linus Ullmark with their 163rd overall pick. Ullmark, the seventh-ranked European goalie by NHL Central Scouting, spent most of last season with Modo Jr., posting a 2.76 goals against average and .918 save percentage along with one shutout in 25 games. His numbers improved in five playoffs games, finishing with a 2.24 GAA and .924 save%.
DEVINE SAYS: “With all the scouts that we hired last year, one of the scouts we hired was a guy named Fredrik Andersson, who was a former general manager with Modo – and he’s a former goalie and goalie coach in that league. When we made the hires over there, one of the things we wanted to do was look especially at Finland and Sweden to see if we can get some of those late round guys like Pekka Rinne into our organization. We had him over for our combine also. Another scout Toby O’Brien – also a former goalie – liked him as well, so we thought it would be a good pick.”
Buffalo goes big with their first of two picks in the final round, picking defenseman Brady Austin from the OHL’s Belleville Bulls at 193. The 19-year-old from Bobcaygeon, Ont., checks in at six-foot-four and 234 pounds. He played 68 games with the Bulls last season, amassing 26 points (6+20) and 59 penalty minutes. With their final pick of the draft at 204th overall (acquired in the Steve Montador deal last June), Buffalo went with Minnesota high school sniper Judd Peterson. The six-foot-one Peterson, who is already committed to St. Cloud State, had 83 points (47+36) in 30 games for Duluth-Marshall last season.
DEVINE SAYS: “Austin is a defensive defenseman. He went through the draft last year, mainly because they had him playing forward a lot in Erie. This year he was a little more comfortable playing for a good coach in Belleville. We think he’s got a chance because of his size; he played tougher this year. Peterson is another result of our combine, which he looked good at. We’ve got a scout right in his hometown that speaks very highly of him. He put up big numbers, now he’s got three or four years to develop at St. Cloud.”