2012 NHL Entry Draft - Round One

Sabres opted for safe pick instead of possible ‘home run’ Nichushkin


The Buffalo Sabres, with the eighth overall pick in Sunday’s NHL Draft, had their doubts about Russian prospect Valeri Nichushkin.

And so, they passed up on him. The risks, they felt, weren’t worth the potential rewards of selecting the touted and towering forward.

Instead, the Sabres went the safe route, and chose defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen out of Finland.

“We thought that Ristolainen, he was close. Nichushkin, he could be a home run, but if things don’t work out,” Kevin Devine, the Sabres’ director of amateur scouting, told the Buffalo News.

“He’s been quoted in the paper as saying if he didn’t play and some things didn’t go right this year he was going back to the KHL. Then if he goes back there, do we ever see him again?”

However, it didn’t take long for an NHL club to select Nichushkin. Two picks later, the Dallas Stars grabbed him at 10th overall.

“We plan on signing him as soon as possible,” Stars GM Jim Nill told the Dallas Morning News recently.

“He’s free. His contract is free from Russia. We have notice from the NHL, from the KHL. So there was no problem that way for us. That’s not a concern.”

Derek Roy signs in Swiss league

Derek Roy, Jeremy Smith, Chris Kelly
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Derek Roy has finally found work — but it’s not in the NHL.

Roy, who spent the entire preseason in Washington’s camp on a PTO, has signed with SC Bern of Switzerland’s National League A, the club announced on Friday.

The news comes after Roy narrowly missed out on making the Caps roster, and just one year after he had something of a bounce-back campaign in Edmonton, scoring 22 points in 46 games while developing chemistry with young winger Nail Yakupov.

A 12-year NHL veteran, Roy is one of the more prominent names to be squeezed out of work this season, and head overseas. The 31-year-old has scored over 500 points in 738 career contests, and has twice represented Canada at the World Hockey Championships.

With Bern, Roy will play on one of Switzerland’s stronger teams, alongside a trio of ex-NHLers: Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Ebbett and Cory Conacher.

Lehner’s injury ‘doesn’t look like it’s short term’

Robin Lehner
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Robin Lehner might not be back anytime soon.

Making his debut with the Buffalo Sabres, the 24-year-old goaltender couldn’t complete Thursday’s game against his former squad, the Ottawa Senators, due to what has now been revealed to be a right leg injury.

When he left the arena, he was wearing a walking boot on that nearly went up to his knee.

“It doesn’t look like it’s short term,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Buffalo News. “It’s more than day-to-day at this point, but we need to evaluate further.”

It’s a rocky start to what’s an important campaign for Lehner. He has been given an opportunity to demonstrate that he’s ready to be a starting goaltender after being acquired by the Sabres over the summer, but it looks like that will have to be postponed.

While he’s sidelined, Chad Johnson is likely to be leaned on heavily.