Welcome back to my 31 in 31 top ten prospect series.
Yesterday, we took a look at the Boston Bruins’ farm system, highlighted by a promising group of centremen featuring Ryan Donato, Trent Frederic, and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson. Heading into part four of my series, we’re going to take a look at the farm system of a Buffalo Sabres team that’s seemingly figured it out at last this season. Without further ado, let’s take a look.
1. Lawrence Pilut (D, Undrafted, Signed in 2018)
It’s not too often that you see an overage prospect sign with an NHL team and immediately become their best prospect, but so far that’s looking like the case for Pilut. After a breakout SHL season where he put up 38 points in 52 games, he signed with the Sabres and immediately started torching the AHL with 22 points in his first 16 games. He just earned his first NHL call up and if he keeps impressing then he likely won’t maintain his prospect status for much longer.
2. Victor Olofsson (RW, 7th Round, 181st Overall in 2014)
While first round picks typically get all the attention, it seems as though the Sabres might have struck gold with this pick. Olofsson was drafted as a small winger in the 7th round of the 2014 draft and after a very successful final SHL season, he was brought over to North America where he currently has 19 points in 18 games with the Rochester Americans of the AHL. He’s another guy who’s potentially due for a call up.
3. Rasmus Asplund (C, 2nd Round, 33rd Overall in 2016)
A projected first round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, Asplund slid to the second round and the Sabres were more than happy to scoop him up at 33rd overall. He finished his final SHL season with Farjestad BK last year was brought over to the AHL along with Olofsson. Though Asplund only has four points in his first 21 games, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt seeing that he’s never played in North America before and is still young.
4. Brendan Guhle (D, 2nd Round, 51st Overall in 2015)
After an 18 game NHL stint last season and a three game stint the year before, Guhle is four games away from losing prospect status by my definition, but since he sits at 21, he makes this list. Guhle began the season in the AHL and still remains there today, having mustered nine points through 19 games thus far.
5. Mattias Samuelsson (D, 2nd Round, 32nd Overall in 2018)
Standing tall at 6’4 and 218lbs, Samuelsson was another projected first round pick who dropped to the second round for the Sabres to pick up. The Swedish-American is currently playing for Western Michigan University of the NCAA where so far he’s registered six points in 14 games.
6. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (G, 2nd Round, 54th Overall in 2017)
After spending the start of his career overseas, the hulking Finnish goalie made the switch over to North America to play junior hockey where he’s currently with the Sudbury Wolves. He currently sports a record of 15-5-1 with a goals against average of 2.50 and a save percentage of .922.
7. C.J. Smith (LW, Undrafted, Signed in 2017)
C.J. was signed by the Buffalo Sabres during 2016-17 after an impressive season with UMass-Lowell of the NCAA where he put up 51 points in 41 games. He only has two NHL games under his belt, but he’s been consistently good in the AHL and has 17 points in 21 games this season, so it’s entirely possible we could see Smith in the NHL soon.
8. Alexander Nylander (RW, 1st Round, 8th Overall in 2016)
I know you’re probably tired of hearing the name “Nylander” over the past two grueling months, but unfortunately you’re about to hear it again. Alexander Nylander was raising questions about whether or not he was a good pick at 8th overall in his first two AHL seasons, but he’s seemingly found his game and currently has 17 points in 21 AHL games. Nylander wasn’t a draft pick of current GM Jason Botterill, so there’s less pressure for the Sabres to call him up and thus, more time for him to develop in the AHL.
9. Will Borgen (D, 4th Round, 92nd Overall in 2015)
After spending four seasons with St. Cloud State University, Borgen is currently in the middle of his first pro season where he’s registered a total of five points in 21 games. As he plays a more defensive style of game, he’ll likely take a little bit longer to develop but could very well turn into a solid d-man for the Sabres.
10. Andrew Oglevie (C, Undrafted, Signed in 2018)
Oglevie was signed as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Notre Dame back in 2018. After a successful season where he put up 39 points in 36 games, he’s currently playing for the Rochester Americans where he hasn’t been able to find the same success, mustering only one point in 14 games. He will likely remain in the AHL to develop for the next little bit.
Thanks for reading! Tune in tomorrow where we’ll go over the Calgary Flames’ top ten prospects.
stats from eliteprospects.com