One day after Buffalo selected two European born centers that have played in North America, the Sabres selected three additional forwards, two defensemen and a goaltender on Day Two of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh.
Defenseman Jake McCabe from the University of Wisconsin was their second round choice (44th overall). The 6’0”, 195 lb. scored 12 points over 26 games in his freshman season for the Badgers. Teammate Brad Navin was a Sabres draft choice last year.
Director of Amateur Scouting Kevin Devine said “we had McCabe at the end of the first round. He played with (Rochester head coach) Ron Rolston a bit so we know about his character plus Mike Eaves at Wisconsin has a really good history with defensemen.”
With the 73rd overall pick, the Sabres took center Justin Kea, who played more of a defensive role with three goals and 11 assists in 65 games. Devine said Kea was “a better skating Paul Gaustad.”
Logan Nelson became the fourth center selected this year by Buffalo in the fifth round. He netted 23 goals with 39 assists over 71 games with Victoria in the WHL.
In the sixth round, the Sabres went with a goaltender in Linus Ullmark from MoDo Jr. in Sweden. At 6’3” and 198 lb, he filled the net registering a 2.70 GAA with a .918 save percentage last season in 25 games. “When we made the hires over there (scouting staff hired last year), one of the things we wanted to look especially at Finland and Sweden to see if we can get some of those late round, Pekka Rinne-type guys.”
Buffalo had two selections in the seventh round and with size in defenseman Brady Austin from Belleville and forward Judd Peterson, who is heading to play college hockey at St. Cloud State University. Austin was not selected in his first year of eligibility last year. He is 6’3”, 234 lb and played with the Bulls this past season after two seasons in Erie. He set career highs with six goals and 20 assists and was named their Most Improved Player.
“The focus was on centermen and some size and those two players (their first round selections Grigorenko and Girgensons) were players we identified and we were fortunate that there was a run on defensemen. We were looking for forwards and that pushed them down and it benefited us,” said Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier.