Locke and load

When the Sabres selected 19-year old Eric Locke in the seventh round of the 2013
draft, it marked the fifth-straight year that they used a late pick on an overage skater. The previous picks targeted size and physicality, resulting in Maxime Legault, Riley Boychuk, Brad Navin, and Brady Austin entering the pipeline, but this year's selection fits an altogether different profile.

So what was it that made the Sabres act on a 5-foot-10 forward who has played for three different OHL teams in three years?

For starters, Locke has speed in open ice and a nice release that sees him pick corners. Below is a compilation of over 30 goals he scored this past season as a member of the Saginaw Spirit. The Toronto native's 97 points (44+53) more than doubled the output of his previous two years combined (46+48).

We talked in the draft preview about the Sabres need for scoring down the wings. Locke, who was named Most Improved Player in the 2013 OHL Western Conference Coaches Poll, has proven to fit that bill as an elite junior, all the while rounding his average frame and overall game to earn the right to test his skills in an NHL camp this fall.

Eligible for AHL duty in 2013-14, Locke will get a serious look for Rochester as there is little left to accomplish by returning to Saginaw next season as an overage junior.
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