Niagara Gazette

Sports

July 1, 2013

GETTING DEFENSIVE

Sabres restock blueline in 1st round of NHL draft

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — “We want to become bigger,” general manager Darcy Regier told Buffalo’s WGR-Radio. “We want to be more physical. The game is moving that way right now. Hopefully, that will remain consistent when these guys start their NHL careers.”

Buffalo’s focus on defense comes a year after it used a pair of first-round picks to draft centers Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons.

The Sabres are in transition after their high-priced and under-performing team missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season and fourth time in six years.

The purge began in February when longtime coach Lindy Ruff was fired after a 6-10-1 start.

One of the Sabres’ more notable selections was forward Justin Bailey, a Buffalo native who was drafted in the second round (52nd overall). Bailey completed his first season with OHL Kitchener, and has numerous ties to Buffalo and its pro sports teams.

He’s the son of former NFL linebacker Carlton Bailey, who played for the Bills from 1988-92. Justin Bailey was also coached by former Sabres captain Pat LaFontaine.

The Sabres also selected Minnesota high school forward Connor Hurley (38th), OHL Sudbury forward Nicholas Baptiste (69th), Swedish junior forward Gustav Possler (130th), Connecticut high school defenseman Anthony Florentino (143rd), U.S. Developmental Team center Sean Malone (159th) and OHL Saginaw center Eric Locke (189th).

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