Lagacé mulling offer

The Buffalo Sabres have extended an entry-level contract offer to 2008 fifth round pick, Jacob Lagacé. Lagacé, 20, has until Tuesday to sign his deal and begin preparation for a season of AHL hockey. If the two sides cannot close, the scoring wing will head back to the draft looking for another suitor and likely play another season of QMJHL hockey.

The 5'11, 196-pounder completed his third season of major juniors in 2009-10, scoring 35 goals and 38 assists in 60 games split between Chicoutimi and Cape Breton. A mid-season trade to the Screaming Eagles united Lagacé with fellow Sabres prospects Luke Adam and Maxime Legault, but the Atlantic Division proved to be tougher sledding as he would connect for just five goals in 25 games before going 0-3-3 and -6 in a first round loss to Moncton.

Lagacé was signed to an AHL tryout in Portland at the finish of his Q year, but work visa issues limited him to one nondescript appearance in the Pirates game four, playoff-exiting loss to Manchester.

If the two sides agree to terms as expected, Lagacé will be the fifth member of the 2008 draft class to enter the system. First round studs Tyler Myers and Tyler Ennis have already made NHL waves, while Adam (2nd) and Nick Crawford (6th) were inked earlier this off-season after excellent wraps to their junior careers.

The Lagacé offer leaves one other pick from that class, PEI defenseman Jordon Southorn, without a deal heading into Tuesday's deadline to sign 2008 CHL draftees. With last week's signing of Harvard grad and 2006 pick Alex Biega, Southorn could be on the outside looking in when it comes to a future with the Sabres organization.

Regardless of Lagacé's decision, the club is still expected to take 2007 pick Corey Tropp out of Michigan State a year early to begin his pro development in the AHL.
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Triple
admin
Sunday, May 30, 2010 ×

Quick question: where is the best place to read detailed scouting on some of these younger players? I've always used hockeysfuture.com and I'm just curious if there are better sources and where you go to get the info an an unfamiliar player.

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Kris Baker
admin
Sunday, May 30, 2010 ×

The best way is to use the player labels here and scroll. There is skill analysis peppered throughout the site, just not included in every post. Until I have dedicated player pages, this is probably the best way to do it.

Or, just ask about guys in comments or via email and I'll address accordingly.

If you're asking about Lagacé, he's a somewhat undersized guy with a lower center of gravity who can grind at the junior level but may need to get stronger and quicker to succeed at the next level. He can drift in and out of scoring space, and has a real keen finishing ability around the net. I look at his wide turns and slower footwork as two things he'll need to get better at if he wants to someday compete for the Sabres. Quicker, tighter pivots will make him more effective in all three zones. Coming out of the Q, there's still a debate whether or not his defensive game is sturdy enough and whether his scoring ways against younger players will translate to the next level.

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Anonymous
admin
Sunday, May 30, 2010 ×

What is there to mull? He can go to a AHL team with no RWs or go back into the draft and possibly not even get selected.

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Kris Baker
admin
Sunday, May 30, 2010 ×

6:24 -
Exactly. The 'mulling' has more to do with what the CB-slanted article states, and the fact that a deal isn't signed and filed yet. It's pretty much a sure thing that he's signed and in Portland next season.

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Anonymous
admin
Monday, May 31, 2010 ×

The "mulling" is deciding whether or not to throw away a free University education AND play CIS hockey after another year of Q hockey or go to the AHL where he could be in the ECHL by November and off the NHL radar completely.

It's never as cut and dry as NHL or bust.

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Kris Baker
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Monday, May 31, 2010 ×

Very good point, 1:16.

So many of these guys have hockey left to play, they just have to determine the level. Going to play for the Varsity Reds or another top CIS program could potentially give him the best of both worlds (education + European career if he chooses).

I think it all comes down to the confidence and overall drive he has to step up at the next level. Lagacé has been a pretty good player in the Q, and Regier thinks he can develop. I expect him to sign and not pull the plug so easily, but we'll see.

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