Without wasting your time on a wordy lede, here’s 3 ways the Sabres can make a big step forward in their quest for a Stanley Cup today.
This has been my dream scenario for the draft.
Reinhart has the highest IQ of this draft, along with arguably the best passing abilities (as Kevin Devine said, plausibly the best passer to come into the draft in the last 10-15 years). Add a complimentary player in Nikolaj Ehlers, widely considered as one of the top finishers in the CHL, and you’ve got a recipe for lots of goals.
Of course we need goals, but it goes deeper than that.
For CHL players, Reinhart is at the top of his prospect pool for time on ice while playing shorthanded (66.6%). He’s fourth in power play time (77.3%).
Meanwhile, Ehlers has been knocked around in articles and posts stating that his stats may be inflated playing alongside Jonathan Drouin – but a great majority of Ehlers’ even strength numbers (about 70%) came with Drouin on the bench. His goals for % at even strength tops the CHL class (76.7%), and he is ranked quite high in plenty of other offensive categories (hit the link and do some sorting by category, you might be surprised).
Finding a way to get back into the top 10 (or maybe even a bit higher than that) would be very hard – but not impossible. A Reinhart-Ehlers combination could be the best 1-2 value in this year’s draft.
2. Give me a Sam (or Leon), and Barbashev
It takes a number of years for prospects to make it to the NHL. With all the accumulating youth, getting more than one first rounder this year makes an awful lot of sense in making the team better sooner.
I’d be satisfied with either Sam at #2 (or Leon Draisaitl – I trust Murray in his talent evaluation), but I’d be happy if they found a way back in to get that extra guy.
For me, Barbashev is that guy. His motor is relentless (not so much as Girgensons, but about as close as you get in this draft class), he’s an all-zones and all-situations guy, and he can score. Again, I trust Murray to make the right pick, so take my preference as simply that. There are plenty of names that should be available in the mid-first (McCann, Fiala, Fabbri, Larkin, Tuch – and more) that we’d all be pretty thrilled with coming out of today.
Get me two guys. Make me happy.
Once touted as a talent on par with Connor McDavid, Ho-Sang has seen his stock fall almost as dramatically as he plays the game. His crimes? Speaking his mind. Being too honest. Oversharing his opinions.
I’d like to extend a hearty “thanks” to Joshua for compiling this criminal record, because it might help him slide to the Sabres in the second round (or of course, they could trade up for him if they are that interested). Plausibly the most talented player in this draft – an absolute wizard with the puck – Ho-Sang is a player that could be the steal of the draft, and would make for some ridiculously entertaining articles from the local rag and for some really spicy hot sports takes on the local radio waves.
Again, we need goals – but we also need to find the edge of our seats again at the FNC. This guy could challenge for the headline marquee for both in Buffalo.
Tonite is going to be a blast. A rebuild is a tough thing to endure, but this is one of the best parts. It’s time to start dreaming.
Want a Stanley Cup? You’ll hear a name or two called today that could very well be a huge part of it. Enjoy the draft, Sabres fans.
— Scott Michalak (@ScottyMCSS) June 27, 2014