August 3, 2013
In this edition we will take a look at the Buffalo Sabres organization and prospects. In no particular order:
Mikhail Grigorenko, C – The Sabres top pick in the 2012 draft, the development plan for Grigorenko last season was curious. He dressed for 25 games for Buffalo but didn’t play a lot and wasn’t a factor (one goal). In fairness to the Sabres, Grigorenko really had nothing left to prove at the junior level, and obviously they felt that the NHL experience would be better in the long run. Lacking only breakaway speed, he has all the tools to succeed in the NHL.
Jake McCabe, D – If you followed the WJC last winter, you may think that McCabe is the next Erik Karlsson, but that’s not his game. He is a cerebral, two-way defender who takes care of business in his own end first. Not to say that McCabe is a slouch offensively, because he isn’t. He moves the puck well and has a decent shot, but most of his points will come from being at the right place and making the right play. He will likely forego points early in his NHL career to focus on being a shutdown defender, but the points will come eventually, just not large totals.
Joel Armia, RW – The Finnish winger has size (6’4) and a nose for the net, and is very nearly NHL-ready at 20. Armia plays a simple game, predicated on skating up and down his wing and shooting the puck. He possesses excellent one-on-one moves and is very dangerous with the puck on his stick. Armia needs to play with a playmaking center who can get the puck on his stick.
Zemgus Girgensons, C – Girgensons went 14th overall in the 2012 draft and then went in most every fantasy league’s draft last summer. My opinion is that Girgensons will never be fantasy relevant. I see him as a good 3rd-line pivot who will play a very solid two-way game and put up 30 points a season. Again, my humble opinion.
Nikita Zadorov, D – Zadorov is huge, and he moves quite well for his size. He is a physical defender who will be rosterable in leagues that count hits and PIMs, but not much of a factor in points-only leagues.
Rasmus Ristolainen, D – Ristolainen is a bigger Jake McCabe, playing an all-around game but defense comes first. He is big (6’4, 210) and will get bigger. Ristolainen looks like he will be a quality NHL player, but isn’t a major fantasy prospect at this point.
J.T. Compher, C – Compher is an 18-year-old from the U.S. Development program. He has good offensive potential but is several years away from NHL duty. Keep him on your watch list.
Justin Bailey, RW – Bailey is a forward with good tools plus size to put them to use. His skating needs work but if he does that he may get a chance to put his above-average shot to work in the NHL.
Johan Larsson, C/W – Larsson is the forward version of McCabe/Ristolainen, in that he is a two-way player who plays good defense while contributing some offense. He is an intelligent player with the puck and is capable of scoring 40-50 points at his peak.
Andrey Makarov, C – Makarov is a high-risk, high-reward type who is worth stashing if you have a deep prospect list in your league. He has great skill and ability, but it remains to be seen if he reaches or comes close to his high ceiling.
Remember to pick up the Fantasy Prospect Report from the Dobbershop to learn more about these and many other fantasy prospects. It’s a must have for keeper league owners!
As always, thanks a lot for reading and have a great weekend.