The Sabres used the pick acquired from Los Angeles to select 6'3, 185-pound C Justin Jokinen from Cloquet (Minn HS). Equally apt to pass or finish, Jokinen initially made waves as a junior, scoring 51 points while skating on alone with Colorado College forward Tyler Johnson. With Johnson in college, Jokinen's production dropped to 39 points as a senior this past season, but this isn't a "buyer beware" situation. Heading to Minnesota State this fall, the dedicated Jokinen projects to be a middle-line winger at the NHL level. With his frame filling out the next few seasons, Jokinen will continue to add polish to his physical, playmaking style. The Sabres should have a big, strong winger to plug into their future plans. From the NHL Draft site:
NHL Central Scouting's Jack Barzee "Justin moved to center this year and he ended up carrying his team to the State tournament. He is tall and skinny right now, but he's a lot like Jamie Langenbrunner was at that age, with a little bit different intensity than Langenbrunner had. When Justin kicks that intensity up he has that snap and finesse that allows him to make big plays. He can come down on the defenseman, use him as a screen and snap the puck off to surprise the goalie. He's one of those guys that has the uncanny ability to put the puck in the net – I think he can be a goal scorer at any level – he just needs to get stronger." Cloquet-Carlton head coach David Esse "Justin is one of the best athletes I have ever coached over the past 18 years. He makes everyone around him better and has such a passion and love of the game."