Friday, July 13, 2012

Ullmark on the mark in net for the Gold

Fredrik Andersson was hired as a European Scout for the Buffalo Sabres in January of this year. His stated task, according to Head Scout Kevin Devine, was to find late round goalies, like Pekke Rinne of the Nashville Predators, for the Sabres to take a flyer on.

Andersson's first Rinne-like suggestion was Swedish goalie Linus Ullmark, whom they invited to the second annual Sabres Draft Combine and selected with their 6th round pick.

The Sabres Combine is an important tool for the Sabres as they get to work out prospects on the ice (unlike the NHL Combine.) Ullmark was one of five players the Sabres selected after working them out.

Although is not 6'5" 210 lbs. like Rinne, Ullmark looked big in net. Not that he's small by any means, he's carrying 198 lbs. on a 6'3" frame. But to look big is a huge plus for the kid.

Ullmark came into the game midway through the second period of the scrimmage last night and held the fort pretty well, but what may have stood out more than anything is his poise and positioning:

and his focus, as with this freight train coming at him:

In addition to his positioning and calm, he also showed some nice leather work. He blatantly robbed 2012 1st-round draft pick Mikhail Grigorenko top-shelf (although Grigorenko would later exact some revenge in the shootout,) and managed to get a glove on this one:

Despite allowing some goals and with the "game" clearly out of reach, Ullmark also showed his "compete" as he didn't hesitate to get out there for an errant puck:

And for good measure, he stonewalled Marcus Foligno in the shootout portion of the program:

Ullmark still has plenty of learning to do, but his fundamentals are sound, and in many ways he looked like an NHL'er.

The Sabres needed to draft a goalie because they had none in junior or the college ranks, and Ullmark looks to be a good choice. It would seem as if goalies Connor Knapp and Nathan Leiuwen will have some stiff competition a couple years down the road.

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