A number of things were changed in the day to day operations of the Buffalo Sabres after Terry Pegula assumed ownership. One was their approach to the amateur player side of hockey operations.
While video scouting as part of their overall scouting operation was doing just fine, Pegula put more money into that part of the hockey business and the Sabres nearly doubled the number of their amateur scouts.
They also stopped using their philosophy of waiting until the last possible minute to sign draft picks in hopes the leverage would save them some money. As Director of Amateur Scouting Kevin Devine told The Hockey News, “we don’t have to nickel and dime them anymore.”
Armed with the “if you like a guy, go sign him” mentality, the Sabres wasted no time in signing Jerome Gauthier-Leduc, a 3rd round pick in the 2010 draft. They even gave him a $90,000 signing bonus.
It appears the money will be well spent. The 19 year old defenseman has had a tremendous season for Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior League and was listed as the number 6 prospect in the Sabres organization in The Hockey News Future Watch 2012.
Listed at 6-2, 194 pounds, Gauthier-Leduc has been one of the best offensive defensemen in the Canadian Hockey League this season with 28 goals and 74 points in 62 regular season games for the Oceanic.
His offensive numbers have increased each of the last three seasons in “The Q” and the 28 goals and 74 points represent career bests in both categories. An early cut from Canada’s World Junior team, Gauthier-Leduc has improved his foot speed according to the Prospect Report in The Hockey News but needs to mature physically and add muscle to his frame.
Gauthier-Leduc and his Rimouski teammates are about to start a 2nd round playoff series in the Quebec League. The Sabres prospect had 4 goals and 8 points in a four game 1st round sweep.