Sabres select Kassian 13th overall

The Buffalo Sabres have selected RW Zack Kassian of the Peterborough Petes with the 13th pick of the 2009 Draft. The 6'3, 212-pound Kassian has been in the Sabres discussion since day one. A banging right winger who can hold his own with puck, the rugged Windsor native fills a size and toughness gap in a forward cupboard boasting 5'5 Nathan Gerbe and 5'8 Tyler Ennis as its most explosive options. Big, strong players are needed to finish off plays in the paint, and here's one who won't back down after the whistle. From Draft Preview v1.0: Everyone has witnessed what a Brendan Morrow/Milan Lucic type can do to the pace of a game by throwing his weight around. The 6'3, 212-pound Kassian had a similarly busy season, potting 24 goals and 39 assists in 63 games, knuckling up for 13 fighting majors (including 8 on the road), and knocking John Tavares from the Top Prospects Game. He doesn't have elite offensive talent, but the right wing's jam effects a game's flow, making him worthy of a look at #13. If he's there, his name is on the tip of Regier's tongue. Kassian was the primary target at that point, and the pick makes a lot more sense now that it has happened. Despite the potential for leaving a higher level of skating and offensive skill on the table, Sabres GM Darcy Regier addressed a serious team need by getting tougher and meaner up front. It is expected that Kassian, 18, makes a case at training camp, but will ultimately head back to the OHL for another season of junior. He won't turn 19 until January and has only played two full seasons in the OHL, meaning he will not be eligible for AHL action until 2011. In other words, it's NHL or OHL for two post-draft seasons just like the current situation with 2008 top dog, Tyler Myers.
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