The 2009 Draft has come and gone for the Buffalo Sabres and Regier & Co. made one thing abundantly clear ... they want to get bigger and they want to get tougher. The Sabres didn't pick a single player under 6 ft. tall and many of them are known to tough, physical players who aren't afraid to lose their gloves when need be. Darcy Regier and head of amateur scouting Kevin Devine both said that they had been looking to follow last year's first round trend of picking the best player with size and strength.
According to NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards, "Kassian is one of the toughest guys in the OHL and probably the entire draft. Last season as an under-ager there were overage guys in the league who would not take him on. He has not fought much this season (because) he has not had to. He is at his best when he is playing physical and tough along the boards. He protects the puck very well and fights through checks. He has very good play-making and puck-handling abilities."
As a kid, Kassian's favorite hockey team was the Toronto Maple Leafs. However when asked about it after the draft, Kassian said, "now it's the Buffalo Sabres. Toronto? I don't like them at all."
McNabb has spent the last two seasons in the WHL playing for the Kootenay Ice (Who else hears 'Kootenay' and wants to go on a road trip to investigate this peculiarly named place?). McNabb's numbers are nothing to gush over, but he, like Kassian, is a big, physical guy who describes himself as a "stay-at-home, rough & tough defenseman." Given the Sabres' lack of depth at that position, hopefully we'll see McNabb's face around the rink in the years to come.
Marcus Foligno was born and raised in Buffalo, NY while his father was still leaping through the Aud. And now, he may some day get his own chance to do the "Foligno Leap" if he can work his way up to the NHL. Marcus' brother, Nick, was forced by his Ottawa teammates to do the jump when he scored his first goal and Marcus suspects that if he can make his way onto the Sabres' bench, his teammates may do the same.
"I'm still debating (doing) that," Marcus said. "I know that my brother's teammates, they made him do it. So if one day when I'm playing for Buffalo and my teammates make me do it, then I'm going to have to do it."
While Foligno's numbers are also unimpressive, this YouTube clip of him knocking some poor schmuck's teeth in makes me yearn for the day that Andrew Peters is no longer wasting space on the ice.
Some pundits (such as the Buffalo News' Mike Harrington) have mixed feelings about the Sabres' draft. While they agree that the Sabres needed to improve their size and physicality, many of them feel that Darcy hasn't done enough to improve the team for next season. But hopefully, with free agency on the way, these won't be the only new members of the Sabres organization next season.