Buffalo Sabres Winter 2012 Top 25 Rankings

Written By Kris Baker on Monday, February 13, 2012 | 2/13/2012

Who is the Sabres top prospect? Click to find out.


15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent read for Sabres fans. Kris did an outstanding job and the time and effort is great. Really looking forward to the draft issue and what positions Buffalo is expected to persue.

Keep up the EXCELLENT work

bring back palffy said...

I second that notion. I don't know what I'd do without this site. Glad to see, Kris, that you're as high on Armia as I want to be. A couple other notes:

* Expectations/outlook on Sundher seem to be pretty lukewarm at this point, relative to the hopefulness of this fan that he turns into a productive scoring line center. From not even getting an invite to the U20 camp to being projected as the 11th best prospect in his own farm system (ouch), I'm wondering what the limiting factor/factors are there.

* A few years ago, as it became clear that the Sabres were a prohibitively small/finesse team, the organization focused on drafting punchers and grinders and annoy(ers). With that addressed, it now seems clear that they have a major, inexcusable center problem. That's from top to bottom. (the person who decided that Ville Leino was an appropriate first- to second-line replacement for Tim Connolly should be blacklisted from the sport). Kris, do you expect "centers" to be the new "toughness," as a draft/UFA focus?

Anonymous said...

Great job Kris! I always look forward to reading your updates. The Sabres have a gem at centre in Daniel Catenacci. This kid is a speedier and more dynamic version of Michael Peca. He reminds of Peca in so many ways, he's a great leader and two way player that's used in all situations. It would be nice to see the Sabres bring in a young kid like this to groom just like some other NHL teams do.

boos said...

outstanding work, kris

Anonymous said...

great items..thank you..umm do we now include Luke Adam as a prospect..and is he #1 overall ?

Anonymous said...

Why would Luke Adam be rated as #1?

Kris Baker said...

Palffy: Armia's top end potential and upward spike this season made it pretty easy. That World Jr. performance sealed it for me. He has another year to play in the tourney. Already thinking that 8-10 goals will be reasonable.

Regarding Sundher, I don't want anyone to think that #11 is a bad thing at this point. He's an astute playmaker, and I greatly admire what he was able to do at the start of the year. It's a gut feeling that he'll be a very efficient middle line player in the NHL. Same gut feeling that suggests that Catenacci will succeed. I'll admit that Brennan-Schiestel-Sundher was a very tough sequence to navigate, as were the goaltenders.

To your last point, YES. The Sabres have to know that they have the worst 1-4 center depth in the entire NHL. You have your workhorse goaltender signed for two more years. I'm confident that they'll trade for a center (very few UFAs) while continue to address via the draft. (AG)

Kris Baker said...

Boos and 6:38 - thank you. Draft preview has already started...should be a humdinger. I'll probably go back to regular article format. I wanted to try something different here. Hope it wasn't annoying.

Kris Baker said...

12:19 - I've been very impressed with Catenacci this season. I think it's reflected in the rankings. I'm not concerned with his size. I think he'll be able to make up for it with his skating and offensive means.

He took a bad rap from scouts at the U18. Kids eventually mature (i.e. perceived attitude/ego issues are correctable), but I rarely spoke to anyone who could say a thing about his ability. Then the trade out of SSM...which was out of his hands and had nothing to do with his play. So in the end you have a kid who probably should have been a 2nd round draft pick.

With all that said, we really need to see him have a strong finish this year as it's important for the Sabres to see that going into the offseason.

Kris Baker said...

12:30 - Even though Adam went back, I hesitate to toss him back in the prospect bucket. He's got over 70 NHL games in. Nearly a full season's worth. If forced to include Adam in the rankings, he would not be #1.

Kris Baker said...

Regarding McNabb/Pysyk, it ultimately comes down to what role you value more.

McNabb is a future top-4 with the rugged nature that is obviously very sexy to Sabres fans. Could he be an NHL All-Star? Quite possible. Do I like him? Of course I do. He's 6'5 with a long stick and won't take any junk. Do I think he'll taper off like Weber seems to have done? No, I do not.

Pysyk is a smart, steady d-man who has been very dependable with less of a risk factor. Sometimes you'll go stretches without hearing his name during a game despite him playing 30-35 minutes and killing every penalty. That's a good thing. Reliable middle pair guy potential.

I'm not gong to cop out and say 3 and 3A. That defeats the purpose of the exercise. The tiebreaker for me comes down to skating. Pysyk is so smooth and can start offense. I can't ignore that in the NHL, where the transition game makes or breaks you on many nights. I expect Pysyk to make a seamless transition to the AHL, and while it may take him a little longer to crack the Sabres lineup (needs to add strength), he'll be a safe play when he's ready. All the better if he starts being more physical.

Anonymous said...

great article Kris, however I do not share your vision on Pysyk as the team has to many of them already. Being non physical will do him in.

Kris Baker said...

11:43 - it's a close call. We've all benefited from seeing McNabb perform fairly well at the NHL level. A big part of me has a hard time with him at #4 (I'd be nuts not to) but I don't want to take anything away from Pysyk just yet (regardless of the other skill sets in the blueline cupboard). While he's more conservative on the physical side, he does make plays up-ice with his feet that McNabb can't. Let's settle this in the fall.

Goon said...

I Brad Eidsness no longer listed as a prosepct for the Sabres?

Goon said...

Oops I mean "is" Brad Eidsness. Sorry about that.

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