The Buffalo Sabres announced Friday that three prospects from the 2010 draft - Steven Shipley, Gregg Sutch, and Cedrick Henley - have gone unsigned by the June 1st deadline and will now enter the 2012 draft held later this month in Pittsburgh.
After skating in the CHL Top Prospects Game and piling 63 points in his draft year, Shipley slipped to the fourth round where the Sabres snagged him with the 98th pick. The Ilderton, ON native requested a trade out of Owen Sound following his selection, ultimately ending up with the Niagara IceDogs where he scored 40 goals and 99 points over the past two seasons. A player with a nice frame and playmaking ability, the 6'3, 212-pounder was unable to consistently show the compete level to earn a tender. With a contract already awarded to Phil Varone, a center who ironically went unsigned by San Jose, the writing seemed to be on the wall despite a more passionate effort in the IceDogs run to the OHL final.
For Sutch, the Sabres fifth-rounder in 2010, the past two seasons have been marked by hard-nosed play and some entertaining scraps. On the down side was a smattering of injuries ranging from multiple concussions and a broken wrist suffered at the 2011 Memorial Cup as a member of the Mississauga-St. Michael's Majors. Going to Barrie for the 2011-12 year, the 6'2 grinder was able to score a career-best nine goals but was forced down the lineup with the Colts boasting a talented forward attack.
Projected as a power forward project, the 6'5 Henley captained the Val-d'Or Foreurs this past season, scoring career highs of 13 goals and 39 points in 53 games. The former 4th overall pick in QMJHL draft (2008), the Sabres invested in his potential with a sixth-round pick but unfortunately saw his development stall when most of his first post-draft year was washed out due to wrist surgery.
The trio become the first Sabres prospects to be released back to the draft since Jordon Southorn was cut loose in the spring of 2010. Three others, North Dakota goaltender Brad Eidsness (2007, 5th round), Vermont defender Drew MacKenzie (2007, 7th round), and Minnesota State forward Justin Jokinen (2008, 4th round), recently completed their senior NCAA seasons and do not appear to be in the team's go-forward strategy.