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2010 Sabres Draft Preview: My Take On An “Ehhhh” Draft Year

06/25/10
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Not quite lost in all of the Taylor v Tyler talk is the fact that this is a down year in the draft. In 2008, there was an embarrassment of riches on defense (Doughty, Bogosian, Pietrangelo, and Myers were all selected that year in the first half of the first round. Damn). In 2009, there was a pretty even spread of talent to go around. But this year? Once you get past the top 5, things get a bit murky. Let’s chart a course through dangerous draft waters and see who I like at the #23 pick.

(all vitals and stats courtesy of The Internet Hockey Database)

Emerson Etem
Center
Born Jun 16 1992 — Long Beach, CA
Height 6.00 — Weight 194 — Shoots R

Emerson Etem is believed to be the one of the first wave of high-level California-born draft picks beginning this year. This past season was his first with the WHL Medicine Hat Tigers, meaning he narrowly missed tearing up the scoring charts with Tyler Ennis by a single season. He had 33 pts (19+14) in 40 games with the USA U-18 squad in ’08/’09 and followed that up with 65 pts (37+28) in 72 games with the Tigers.

I like the idea of drafting Etem. He comes from the NHL-esque WHL and I really enjoy the offensive styler coached in Medicine Hat. The Sabres definitely need scoring and center depth in coming years, and taking Etem at 23 would kinda be a steal.

Dylan McIlrath
Defense
Born Apr 20 1992 — Winnipeg, MAN
Height 6.05 — Weight 215 — Shoots R

Surprise, surprise – another WHL pick. McIlrath is a big boy with a booming shot and a mean streak a mile wide. This last season with the Moose Jaw Warriors (who coincidentally use the Sabres “Slug” jersey template with reworked colors and their own gnarly crest), Dylan put up a respectable 24 pts (7+17) in 65 games.

However, it’s his PIM total that caught my eye, however – 169. McIlrath is the type to mete out justice against anyone who wrongs one of his teammates and I like that a lot. Add in his thunderous shot and big frame, and he’d certainly be a solid choice at 23.

Jack Campbell
Goalie
Born Jan 9 1992 — Port Huron, MI
Height 6.01 — Weight 171

Normally I’m not an advocate of taking a goaltender in the first round, but I am losing faith in Enroth as the Sabres’ goalie of the future and Campbell is just plain money. He won both the U-18 and U-20 WJC this year with Team USA, adding two gold medals to his trophy cabinet.

Campbell may be a bit cocky, possibly skipping his college program for the OHL Windsor Spitfires (who hold his CHL rights), but the kid is a big game goaltender and could be the goaltender of the future for the United States. He may go before 23, but if he doesn’t, I’d like Darcy Regier to make him the goaltender of the future for the Buffalo Sabres as well.

Those are my top picks. A number of mock drafts have the Sabres taking big bad defenseman Jarred Tinordi at 23, due mainly to Etem, McIlrath, Campbell, and a back-up pick of mine Riley Sheahan being off the board already.

Personally, I don’t think the Sabres will be picking today (wink wink) but if they are, let’s see what Darcy Regier does.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 06/25/10 5:46 PM

    Great analysis in your article! I’m always stoked for the NHL draft and excited to see what these young up and comers will do in the future. Could you check out my blog as well because I really wanna hear your opinion on my thoughts. http://chrisross91.wordpress.com/2010/06/25/toronto-maple-laughs/

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