9/11 Recap: Southorn lights lamp; KHL gets krackin'

Written By Kris Baker on Saturday, September 12, 2009 | 9/12/2009

Jordon Southorn cast the first Sabres-centric stone of the 2009-10 regular season, scoring a goal and adding five hits as PEI defeated Moncton, 2-1, in the QMJHL opener for both teams. Paired with Czech import Adam Polasek, Southorn (+1) put forth a strong effort by leading numerous rushes up-ice and getting shots to the goal area while settling his own zone. He put the Rocket on the board at 8:55 at the second period when his crisp rising wrist-shot beat Wendell Vye to tie the game 1-1. These are the types of tempo dictating efforts that the 19-year old lefty will have to regularly produce to remain in the Sabres mix after a suspension kept him from skating in his second NHL camp alongside fellow Q'ers Luke Adam, Jacob Lagacé, and Maxime Legault. At 6'2, 200-pounds, Southorn has the frame, skating, and two-way tools to develop into a solid professional. As the raw foundation is present, demonstrating growth in consistency and maturity could make the Sabres' contract decisions more interesting next offseason. If the money wasn't there to sign RW Andrew Orpik for depth, the Sabres are in no position to gamble with character when the blueline is already well-stocked. A Harvard educated leader with a two-year experience edge, Alex Biega, 21, appears to be the better bet for a deal at this point, but it will be interesting to monitor the year since Southorn has the potential to put up some big numbers on the Island. -------------- In Thursday's KHL opener, recently re-upped Vjacheslav Buravchikov logged nearly 14:00 of icetime and spent another 4:00 in the box as Ak Bars defeated Lokomotiv, 3-2 in OT. On Saturday, Ak Bars fell to Spartak by a 4-1 count. Severstal's Marek Zagrapan will make his KHL debut on Sunday against Motorist.


Anonymous said...

Nice write-up on Southy. Can you add a little more about Southorn and Biega? Do you really think character will be an issue or a deciding factor in signing Southorn cuz he really seems like he'd bring a lot to the table? It's no secret we're well-stocked at defense, so what the hell is gonna happen to this blue-line, both in Portland and in Buffalo? They need to do something about this cluster.

Kris Baker said...

This is mostly a numbers game more than anything else. Things can happen with current contract players (Generous is on a one-year deal, Lydman/Tallinder in final years with big club, etc.), but the most likely scenario is the Sabres letting at least one defensive prospect walk this summer. Crawford, Southorn, Biega are going to be looked at closely.

To answer your question, behavior and off-ice issues are taken seriously. Most teams use a predictive index to project career potential. If character wasn't an issue in potentially signing him, they never would have locked him out of training camp. Red flag for sure. It's too early to predict Southy's Sabres future, but a similar concerns existed during Benjamin Breault's period in the system. (Breault in ECHL this season).

Southorn is not a bad egg, but his transgressions on PEI over the past two seasons are not helping his cause. Aside from the suspensions, he had a a separate run-in on the bench at the end of last season where he sulked and sat by himself for an entire period. That's not the behavior that is exhibited by a professional hockey player, and certainly not expected behavior of one who should be leading his mates by example at the junior level. If he gets traded in December, that shows you how well he and the team did at mending their relationship...

Southy can be dominating at times in juniors, but he's still prone to lapses. The first time I watched him, I thought he had the tools to be a NHL defenseman. He's very, very fluid in transition and is increasingly physical, but his skills are not head-and-shoulders above the rest to automatically off-set concerns. Still, I'm predicting big things from him staistically this season.

At practices you can the differences between Biega and Southorn. If the way you practice is the way you play, Biega is very intense and alert, where Southorn comes across as looser, more casual. Biega does not like to get beat. All business. Totally different approaches, much of which can be a function of Biega being the older, more mature player. That's where having NCAA guys in the system comes in handy. You get the longer look.

Mike said...

Does this spell the end of Buravchikov's chances to make the Sabres? How many times will Sabres throw an offer out there to a player who doesn't seem interested in coming over?

Anonymous said...

We need to make room not only for the prospects we don't have under contract, but also for the prospects we DO have under contract. Players aren't gonna want to come here or stick around here if there's not much opportunity or room to make the leap.

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