After getting passed over in his first year of eligibility, 19-year old forward Max Willman finds himself with an investor as the Sabres called his name at the top of the fifth round.
I'm told that Willman (6'0", 180 lbs.) is a well-rounded winger with good skating ability and an understated power mentality. Northeast high school watchers have said his game really elevated this year in a preparatory season with the Williston Northampton School, where he potted 21 goals and 44 points in 25 contests. Those numbers are solid for the New England prep ranks, so many eyes will be watching when he arrives at Brown University this fall for his freshman season of ECAC action. Stepping his game up a notch when he participates in his first NHL development camp in a few weeks should only help in his preparation for the next level.
In round six, the Sabres tapped into NHL bloodlines once again with the selection of Chris Brown, a prolific high school scorer who is committed to Boston College for the 2015-16 season. Son of former Detroit Red Wings forward Doug and nephew of Greg, who was selected by Buffalo 26th overall in 1986, Brown torched his high school competition last season with the Cranbrook-Kingswood Upper School in Bloomfield, MI. Of course it came against a lower level of competition, but 26 goals and 84 points in 28 games speaks to his impressive offensive potential.
We've seen the Sabres comb the high schools in the later rounds in recent years, and with a lot of prospects entering the pipeline, it makes sense to grab some guys that they can develop at a much slower pace. With these two new adds, it looks like they're swinging for the fences. Why not? They continued that theme with their last pick as well.
The Sabres closed the day by turning to Swedish hockey factory MODO for the third year in a row. At 181st overall, Victor Olofsson arrives on the scene following a successful 2013-14 season that saw him score 32 times in 44 games at the J20 level while also appearing in 11 SHL contests with the program's top club. He's 5-foot-11 with blazing speed and accurate shooting skills. This was Olofsson's second year of draft eligibility, and it appears that the Sabres were on a mission to take fliers on long-term, high potential projects that could pay off years down the line. Olofsson is signed with MODO through the 2015-16 season.