Mikhail Sergachev has learned English astonishingly well despite just arriving from Russia last fall, yet he had some trepidation about interviewing with NHL teams. He worried he might struggle for the right words in an intimate setting.
Then he walked into his first of 26 interviews and realized the Buffalo Sabres didn't believe in an intimate setting.
"It was my first interview of the combine, and there were like about 20 guys in the room," Sergachev said Saturday. "That was kind of tough, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, what’s going on here?’ But that was good.
"Good team and so many good players. Great coach. I met him. Great city, great team, and I would like to play here."
There's a chance. Sergachev, ranked eighth among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, would fill an organizational need for the Sabres. He was the Defenseman of the Year in the Ontario Hockey League after recording 17 goals and 40 assists in 67 games with Windsor.
"I’m a two-way defender who loves playing everywhere," the 6-foot-2, 208-pounder said at the Scouting Combine in HarborCenter. "I like Drew Doughty. He’s the greatest defenseman in the world, I think, so I’m trying to be like him."
Sergachev boasts a good shot and the ability to make a crisp first pass.
"I can be on the power play," he said. "'I can be a quarterback."
— Mark Mulville (@MQMulville) June 4, 2016