Boychuk primed for WHL final

Written By Kris Baker on Wednesday, May 4, 2011 | 5/04/2011

Digging deep to bring you the latest and greatest in the world of the Sabres prospects, we'll turn it over to Riley Boychuk's hometown abbynews.com (Abbotsford, B.C. News) for a nice piece prior to the match-up with former bantam 'mate and Koootenay ICE netminder Nathan Lieuwen.

Emerging from a dark period, Boychuk's Winterhawks are set to offer a serious challenge to their counterparts. Rested Kootenay, led by stalwart rearguard and fellow Sabres prospect Brayden McNabb, will enter the series on a dominating 11-game winning streak after earning sweeps in their previous two rounds. Boychuk himself has pulled through a dark time, battling back after surgery on both hips to re-invent himself as a legit role player at the next level.

Like the team he plays for, Boychuk's game has undergone a transformation. After piling up gaudy stats in his final bantam season (60 goals and 74 assists for 134 points in 63 games), he's become a grinding power forward in the WHL. The 20-year-old is seventh in Winterhawks playoff scoring (10 points in 16 games), while putting his 6'5", 220-pound frame to good use on the forecheck.

"My role is to use my big body to wear and tear on their D-men," said Boychuk, who was a seventh-round draft pick by the Buffalo Sabres last summer. "A hard, energy-type game is what I'll be playing at the next level. So I might as well practice it here."

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I see Boychuk as a 3 year Portland guy who replaces Gaustad's role in the lineup...
Very impressed by Riley, and McNabb this year.

I changed my pick in the fan choice from Kassian to Adam because of the year Adam had in Portland. Luke has a year of success in the A compared to Kassian who still has yet to prove himself at this level. And because they both had success at the U20's, Adam is ranked #1 in my book and Kassian is #2. I'd love to see them both on the same line next year.

Still playin at Fenway...

Anonymous said...

Finally a run, or two

Anonymous said...

Great stats on the Sioux Falls' picks. I can't believe how much Vanek dominated... and how bad Isackson really is.

Anonymous said...

Enroth, in my book, has already graduated. I only see him as a Sabre now. That's why I can't vote for him. #3 would have to be McNabb. #4 Pysyk #5 Foligno. I'd love to see Foligno playin the left side with Adam and Kassian. Look out league...

boos said...

hat's off to boychuk, especially with that last quote about knowing his role and developing it for the pros...

hey kris, ruff talked about his group of d-men loaded with "puck-movers" and lamented the lack of a "shutdown-pairing" in the playoffs...he said myers was the closest thing to a shutdown d-man...

d-prospects like schiestel, brennan, and pysyk are all in that "puck-moving" vein following in the footsteps of gragnani and sekera...

will mcnabb be able to fill that "shutdown" role a few years down the road?

seems as if he may be one of the most important prospects in the organization

Kris Baker said...

Re: Adam vs Kassian vs the rest: I've been chipping away at the prospect rankings here and there and should have them published soon. I expect a lengthy comment thread...

2:40 am after a 2+ hour rain delay....that's a diehard right there. Wish it was quadruple overtime of a Sabres game though....

Sioux Falls stats on Twitter are interesting, but worth noting that Isackson came from Minny HS while Tropp and Vanek each had a year of JrA under their belts before posting those stats...

Gragnani officially graduated and I'm thinking I may do the same with Enroth, but I have guidelines that I follow based on age and NHL games played. For now he's included on the list...

Kris Baker said...

boos - Sabres have a fleet of puck moving guys on the back end, but yes McNabb definitely not one of them. He gets his points with strong play once the puck is in the opposing zone.

He can be a shutdown guy in the Weber mold with more offense. As of now he looks to be the most important defenseman in the pipeline, with a spotlight also be directed on Sundher until they add other centers to the mix.

boos said...

"Currently, Buffalo’s pipeline suffers from a serious hole down the middle."

that quote from you back in 2009 remains true...

with the sabres drafting 16th, and no second pick (again,) there doesn't seem to be much hope to shore up the middle long-term

(shrugs)

short-term, if luke adam makes the jump, which is a strong possibility, that leaves 6th-round pick paul byron as the top center in portland next season...

followed by?...who?...

mark voakes?

Kris Baker said...

Boos -
Yes, that whole is still there and it's such a problem. This is why I was hoping that they'd get a Miele or another legit, developed, mature, 22/23 year-old coming out of school to add down the middle in Portland. There are some remaining unsigned options to look at, but nothing earth shattering.

I'm pretty sure you'll see some trade action at the draft - even if it's prospect for prospect. Everyone wants to assume NYR gets Richards, which is perfectly ok, but I think the Sabres will drive the cost in hopes of creating some pressure on them when re-signing Anismiov, Callahan, Dubi, Boyle...

But I'm sure Regier will do something if the deadline rumbles were true...

Anonymous said...

C'mon Kris, give us your list of centers we should take in the first round. I'm anxious to hear what you have to say. I said it before and you responded, I'm liking Boone Jenner.

boos said...

i like your optimism when it comes to regier and player moves, but i'm quite the pessimist when it comes to his team-building...

getting richards, or even jason spezza (as was rumored at the deadline) would be huge...the latter, if true, proving that regier still can't get the job done...

anywho, pegula mentioned at his february presser that there's no nhl salary cap in regards to scouting/player development...any word on what he's done in that department?...other than kevyn adams being a part of the organization?

Kris Baker said...

Regarding Regier's team building, the main thing I'll question is the dollars given to certain guys. Outside of that, I'm willing to see what he does with a new frame of mind at the top. Spezza's deal isn't exactly an albatross, but I don't think he was the primary target...

Right now, no moves have been made. Everyone (underlined) and their mother has been dialing the Sabres asking about jobs. Kevyn Adams has been in the mix for while now doing Player Dev stuff, just under the radar.

With the season done and the draft board tightening after the Memorial Cup, I think Regier now has more time to think about the structure that he'd like to have in place both on the pro and amateur sides. He didn't need to be in a hurry once Pegula made his proclamation - he was already used to working with a pretty lean staff - but I think we'll see some developments on that front in the summer months.

Dave said...

Hey KB,

Will you be doing a pre-draft Sabrespropects Spectacular as you've done in prior years? (Or are you skipping it so Sather doesn't steal more of your work? ;) )

Kris Baker said...

Oh yes. I already have most of the guys slotted, and thus I'll continue to help Sather in any way possible. Hoping to hit s mid-rounder this year...

New rankings article first, then draft preview. We never close.

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