2015 NHL Draft Preview: Buffalo Sabres


Jun 30, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; Rasmus Ristolainen poses for a photo after being introduced as the number eight overall pick to the Buffalo Sabres during the 2013 NHL Draft at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Now that we are days away from the 2015 NHL Draft, Frozen Futures will go through each team and give and idea of what prospects they have now, where they can improve and who they could select to improve.

The Buffalo Sabres have arguably the NHL’s best prospect pool with players like Sam Reinhart, Justin Bailey, Mark Pysyk, and Cal Petersen. This Friday the Sabres will add a prospect who will top them all. Jack Eichel.

There is not much more to say about Eichel or McDavid for that matter. Both have proven their worth many times and absolutely deserve the hype they are getting.

Using the term prospect with Eichel will be short-lived, however. He is expected to join the NHL team right out of the gate. He may even be expected to start out on the 1st line.

The Sabres do have other picks that will add prospects to their already boastful pipeline. They spread out as such:

1st round – 21st overall
2nd round – 31st overall
2nd round – 51st overall
4th round – 92nd overall
5th round – 122nd overall
6th round – 152nd overall
7th round – 182nd overall

There have been reports and rumours that the Sabres are interested in trading their 2nd 1st round pick and their 2nd round picks as well.

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The Sabres have had success in drafting defensemen in the 1st round with Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov recently taken by the organization in the past few drafts and are now with the NHL club. 21st overall is a position where there could be a few very good defenseman available for the picking.

The most realistic pick at 21 would be Saint John Sea Dog Thomas Chabot. Chabot is a quick two-way defender. Quick with his feet, quick with his hands and quick with his decision making. Hockeyprospect.com ranks him 20th, Future Considerations ranks him 21st, and McKeen’s Hockey ranks him 21st.

Another defender the Sabres could take is Jakub Zboril. Buffalo would need help if they wish to select Zboril at 21. He is ranked 18th by McKeen’s Hockey, 12th by Central Scouting, and TSN’s Bob McKenzie ranks him 14th. Zboril is also a two-way defender but is more developed than Chabot. Zboril has the skills to be an NHL defender, just needs a little more time to fill.

A position the Sabres could use a little more talent in is the left wing. Gustav Possler is the current Sabres prospect with the most upside on the left side, Possler still needs more time to develop and by the time he does he won’t have a roster spot to try and audition for. The 31st and 51st pick can add depth and talent to their wings.

Although left wing could be a target, Sabres General Manager Tim Murray has spoken about his interest in goaltending prospect Ilya Samsonov. This makes me believe that if Samsonov isn’t taken in the 1st round, the Sabres will draft him at 31.

So if the Sabres take Samsonov at 31, I think they definitely chose a left winger at 51. Anthony Beauvillier and Jordan Greenway are two left wingers who should be undrafted by the time the Sabres 2nd, 2nd round pick comes around.

Beauvillier is a scorer with good hands who will need time to develop size and physical play. Greenway is a big winger who uses size and skill to beat goalies and defenders.

The rest of the Sabres picks will be used to add depth to positions that already have good depth present. These prospects will take the most time to develop, but any team could find a diamond in the rough here or there.

The Buffalo Sabres are lucky enough to be drafting a player who will join their NHL squad in 2015-2016 in Jack Eichel. Will they go stay in track with my position and draft a defenseman with the next pick and then a forward? We’ll just have to find out Saturday.