Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Impressions of, and questions concerning--D, Zach Bogosian

Reprinted with permission from hockeybuzz.com

Defenseman--Zach Bogosian
DOB:  July 15, 1990 (age, 25)
Draft:  2008, 3rd-overall (Atlanta Thrashers)
How acquired:  Trade with the Winnipeg Jets February 11, 2015
Last contract signed:  2013--7yr./$36M
Final year of contract:  2019-20

2015-16 Stats:  64 games played, 7 goals, 17 assist, 24 points, -11

What we wrote preseason:  Bogosian was thrown right into the fire for an Atlanta franchise that was in disarray. He was mismanaged on the ice and suffered a broken leg his rookie season and two years later the Atlanta Thrashers franchise was moved to Winnipeg.

After the trade to Buffalo, Bogosian averaged over 26 minutes a game for a team that was bottoming out. "At the very least we're looking at a second-pairing, physical defenseman with Robyn Regehr-like traits who is a smooth skater, strong puck mover and one can put some points on the board. At best he looks to be a No. 2/3 who can really be a veteran anchor for a strong group of young defensemen the Sabres will be integrating into the lineup over the course of the next three or four years."

What we wrote mid-season:  "although he's recovered from an injury that had him miss the first month and a half of the regular season, he's still getting up to game-speed. Dude can really skate and rattle the boards with one of his checks. Although he's a bit overzealous in the hitting department, while also getting caught out of position because of it, he's pretty sound in his own end. Plus he's got an attitude too."

Impressions on his play this year:  As a victim of circumstance in Atlanta, one cannot blame him for having his development stunted during his first three years in the NHL. Nor can you blame him for signing the rather lucrative deal that the Winnipeg Jets offered him. But as Sabres fans we can like what he brought to the table this season, despite his shortcomings. Although he won't ever hope to be a Denis Potvin nor attain the meanness of a Scott Stevens, he's got enough scoring and grit to have a positive impact as a solid, veteran #3/4 d-man for an up-and-coming Sabres team.

Bogosian can really move at 6'3" 214 lbs. and it would seem as if he's found a home as an all-situations defenseman on Buffalo's second-pairing. Plus, he has 478 NHL games under his belt which was of particular importance to rookie Jake McCabe, his d-partner most of the season. McCabe really surprised a lot of people this season and much of it can be attributed to working with Bogosian as the two were oft-times the team's best pairing on the ice. When looking at the vet and the rookie, I'm reminded of the impact Drew Bagnall had on Rasmus Ristolainen when the latter was sent to Rochester and I can see Bogosian having the same impact on the Sabres young defensemen at the NHL-level.

Questions moving forward:  As always, the term "when healthy" seems to make it's way into the equation.  So, if healthy, can Bogosian match or better his career-highs set early on in his career? It's recognized that he's no Niklas Lidstrom, but as the game gets quicker will his mind be able to keep pace with game and with what his body wants to do? And at 25 yrs. old and with nearly 500 NHL games under his belt plus obvious leadership qualities, will he be wearing an 'A' in the near future as the old-guard gives way to the young-vets in Buffalo?

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