WHEN: June 24th – 25th
WHERE: The Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minnesota
BAR TRIVIA: Morris Titanic (currently a member of the Sabres Alumni Team) was the only draft pick by Buffalo in 1973 that suited up for the Sabres. He posted no points in 19 career NHL games with the Sabres, but later distinguished himself with the International Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals. A knee injury forced him to retire during the 1979–80 season while he was playing for the Rochester Americans.
SABRES PICKS: The Sabres are not involved in any conditional picks this year.
- Round 1 – #16
- Round 2 – none (traded to St. Louis for Brad Boyes)
- Round 3 – #77
- Round 4 – #107
- Round 5 – #137
- Round 6 – #167
- Round 7 – #197
Our previous cheat sheet profiled Brandon Saad, Joel Armia, Mark McNeill, and Boone Jenner – all sizeable forwards that would be value picks for their talent and for the team’s positional needs. Since that post, “Hockey Wilderness” hosted a poll on SB Nation, wherein the community of SB Nation is allowed to cast their vote on who they think their team will pick. The results were surprising.
Not to knock Beaulieu – he’s going to be a solid defenseman in the NHL – but with the Sabres picking a defenseman with 4 of their last 5 first round picks, you gotta’ imagine they’ll be looking at drafting a forward this season. Heck, Saad and Jenner were both still on this fantasy board. Strange things do happen on draft day, but this poll should leave most Sabres fans puzzled.
Here’s some less puzzling picks that the Sabres would be wise to consider. (Again, links to more extensive write-ups are included with each name.)
ISS Rank: 19
If I’m going to contradict myself, I mine as well get it out of the way at the top of the list. This left handed defenseman, yes, defenseman, has garnered a lot of attention from Sabres draft nerds, simply because he is this year’s Tyler Myers. At 6-7 and 244 pounds, the Toronto product is going to make some team’s blueline a lot more frightening. Some older Sabers fans may remember John Muckler’s failed “Twin Towers” experiment when he paired Denis Tsygurov with Richard Smehlik (for a whole 12 games), but a pairing of Myers and Oleksiak would be pretty fantastic.
ISS Rank: 28
Yes, the ISS Rank should jump out at you, but it shouldn’t be a true cause of concern, as Rask was ranked as high as 5 overall back in October. A promotion from the Swedish Elite league from the Jr. League was the main cause for the skilled and gritty center’s drop. “He’s a top 10 talent, but could go in the 2nd, or even 3rd round,” one scout said. “He’s too good a player for the junior league and he’s not good enough for the big team, so he really falls into that gap.” In one word: steal.
ISS Rank: 44
Another power forward at the center position, the 6-2 177 pound Scheifele needs to put more meat on his bones before he strides into the NHL. With a potent mix of smarts and playmaking ability, Scheifele will make some team very happy at the mid-to-late level of the first round (the Sabres could potentially trade down to select him). “His numbers as a 17 year old are pretty amazing considering he played for a team that lost 49 games,” said one scout. Former Sabre and Barrie head coach Dale Hawerchuk had this to say about him: “The opportunity was there for him (this season) and he ran with it. He’s great. Everybody loves being around Scheif, he comes in smiling every day, can’t wait to get on the ice. That’s infectious to everybody. And that’s how you want it to be.” (Bonus video profile at NHL.com.)
ISS Rank: 3
If the Sabres were to trade up for a player, it should be for this 6-1, 207 pound beast of a LW. Landeskog’s reputation as a leader shines with the fact that he was named captain of his Jr. team – at just 17 years of age (quite a rarity). His value extends far beyond his intimidating character. “He’s the best player in the draft,” said one scout. “He could have played in the NHL two years ago. If he didn’t care about defense, he’d score 50 goals just for fun.” Here’s to hoping, Sabres fans. (Bonus video at NHL.com.)
Trade up, trade down, stay put, trade the pick for Richards/Stastny/Parise – this is one of those years that the Sabres are very difficult to predict.
If I’m at the draft table, my vote is trade up.
See also: “2011 Sabres Draft: Not a Mock, but a Cheat Sheet“