Three second-round selections highlight busy day for Buffalo
The Buffalo Sabres selected eight players on the second day of the 2014 NHL Entry Level Draft, including three in the second round. After taking wingerBrendan Lemieux with the 31st overall pick, Buffalo traded pick 39 to Washington in exchange for the Capitals' 44th and 74th picks this year.
The Sabres' first second-round selection, Lemieux (age 19, 6'0", 206 lbs.) has played two seasons with the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League. Last season, Lemieux finished tied for third on Barrie with 53 points (27 goals, 26 assists) and led the club with 145 penalty minutes. The son of four-time Stanley Cup champion and 1995 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Claude Lemieux, he also played for Canada's gold-medal winning team at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial, scoring in the championship game versus the U.S.
With the 44th overall picks, the Sabres selected center Eric Cornel. Cornel (age 18, 6'2", 186 lbs.) has played two seasons with Peterborough of the OHL, appearing in 131 games and registering 78 points (29/49). During the 2013-14 season, Cornel finished third in team scoring with 62 points (25/37) in 68 games. The Peterborough native recorded two five-point games during 2013-14, and notched three assists in five games for Team Ontario at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Five picks later, with the 49th overall selection, the Sabres picked left wing Vaclav Karabacek of the QMJHL. Karabacek (age 18, 6'0", 179 lbs.) played with the Gatineau Olympiques last season after being selected by the team (18th overall) in the 2013 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft. He finished the season fifth in QMJHL rookie scoring with 47 points (21/26) in 65 games. A native of the Czech Republic, Karabacek was part of Team Czech Republic's silver-medal winning team at the 2014 Under-18 World Championship, totaling six points (3/3) in seven games.
The Sabres' first of two third-round selections, taken with the 61st overall pick, was Swedish goaltender Jonas Johansson. Johansson (age 18, 6'4", 187 lbs.) began playing with Brynas IF of the Swedish Hockey League in 2013-14, appearing in four games, recording a 2.32 GAA and .914 save percentage. Born in Gavle, Sweden, Johansson also won a silver medal while playing with Team Sweden at the 2014 World Junior Championship.
With the 74th overall selection, the Sabres selected their only defenseman of the draft, choosing Swift Current (WHL) defenseman Brycen Martin. Martin (age 18, 6'1", 195 lbs.) finished the 2013-14 WHL season ranked second among Swift Current defensemen with 37 points (6/31) in 72 games and was ranked 26th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. The Calgary, Alberta, native led all defensemen with nine points (2/7) at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
The Sabres went with a pair of high school forwards with their next two picks, selecting left wing Maxwell Willman in the fifth round (121st overall) and center Christopher Brown in the sixth round (151st overall).
Willman (age 19, 6'0", 180 lbs.) has committed to Brown University for the 2014-15 season after recording 44 points (21/23) in 25 games with Williston-Northampton in Massachusetts in 2013-14. Brown (age 18, 6'0", 179 lbs.), who tallied 84 points (26/58) in 28 games for Cranbrook Kingswood in Michigan last season, will attend Boston College in 2015-16 after a spending the 2014-15 season with the Green Bay Gamblers (USHL).
The Sabres rounded out the draft with the selection of Swedish right wing Victor Olofsson in the seventh round (181st overall). Olofsson (age 18, 5'11", 177 lbs.) recorded 53 points (32/21) in 44 regular-season games for MODO Jr. and appeared in 11 games for MODO (SHL) during the 2013-14 season.
Buffalo Sabres' 2014 Draft Class:
Round (Overall) - Player (Position)/ Amateur team
1 (2) - Sam Reinhart (C)/Kootenay, WHL
2 (31) - Brendan Lemieux (LW)/Barrie, OHL
2 (44) - Eric Cornel (C)/Peterborough, OHL
2 (49) - Vaclav Karabacek (LW)/Gatineau, QMJHL
3 (61) - Jonas Johansson (G)/Brynas IF, Swedish Hockey League
3 (74) - Brycen Martin (D)/Swift Current, WHL
5 (121) - Maxwell Willman (LW)/Williston-Northampton (Massachusetts) High School
6 (151) - Christopher Brown (C)/Cranbrook Kingswood (Michigan) High School
7 (181) - Victor Olofsson (RW)/MODO Jr., SWE-Jr.