2012 NHL Entry Draft - Portraits

Will Buffalo’s two first-round picks be in the NHL next season?


The Buffalo Sabres could have a new — and decidedly young — look at center next season.

With veterans Tim Connolly, Paul Gaustad and Derek Roy gone, the door is open for the likes of 22-year-olds Cody Hodgson and Tyler Ennis to log big minutes.

There’s also the possibility for a pair of 18-year-old first-round picks, Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons, to be in the mix as well.

Both are participating at Sabres prospect camp this week, where they were asked about their goals for the 2012-13 season.

For Grigorenko, it’s to be in the show.

“Make the NHL,” the 12th overall pick said. “I’m getting stronger and on the ice I feel more comfortable.”

The Russian sniper has two options — either he makes the NHL, or is sent back to Quebec of the QMJHL.

For Girgensons, it’s a little more complex. Because he played in the USHL (Dubuque) last year, he can sign with the Sabres and start his professional career right away — either in Buffalo or AHL Rochester.

He could also keep his commitment to the University of Vermont.

“Nothing’s been clarified yet. We’ll see what happens after camp. I don’t know,” the 14th overall pick said. “That’s something I’ve got to talk through this week. I think it will be my own decision. No one’s pushing me, but it’s something I have to decide. … It’s something in me, what my heart’s going to say.

“The decision I’m going to make is what I want.”

The Sabres had some fun with the two draftees at development camp, putting them on the same line as 2011 first-round pick Joel Armia (16th overall). It gave a glimpse to what the future has in store for Buffalo, perhaps utilizing Girgensons on the left or right side.

“We clicked together pretty good, I think, so we’ll see how it goes this week,” he explained. “It’s not a problem for me to transfer to the wing.”

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?