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dudacek

POLL: Who are the Sabres best prospects?

Prospects  

59 members have voted

  1. 1. Which of these players will have the best NHL career?

    • Rasmus Asplund
      0
    • Will Borgen
      0
    • Marcus Davidsson
      0
    • Ryan Johnson
      0
    • Henri Jokiharju
    • Victor Olofsson
    • Lawrence Pilut
      0
    • Mattias Samuelsson
      0
    • Tage Thompson
      0


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1 hour ago, pi2000 said:

Lazy.  He doesn't appear to have much interest in fitness.   25 years ago, no big deal.  Today, major concern.

Based on what?

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2 hours ago, pi2000 said:

Lazy.  He doesn't appear to have much interest in fitness.   25 years ago, no big deal.  Today, major concern.

image.thumb.png.e3dcdc38c57e49d3ae15dc8df64313bb.png

 

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Edited by Weave
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1 hour ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

Based on what?

 

Screenshot_20190710-161315_YouTube.jpg

I recall an interview with him asking about his off-season plans and his response was to the effect that he's not a fan of spending time in the gym... that his affectiveness as a hockey play comes from his hands, not his physical fitness.

 

Edited by pi2000

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Went w/ 6K, but really could see any of them winning (or losing) at this point.

As Luukkonnen has IMHO the highest ceiling, went there.

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6 hours ago, dudacek said:

I think you know your prospect knowledge is highly valued around here, regardless of whatever poster made that ***** take.

 

Was planning add prospects in groups of four:

The “close”: Thompson, Olofsson, Borgen, Pilut (can finish as high as 3rd)

The “high 2nds”: Johnson, Samuelsson, Davidsson, Asplund (as high as 4th)

The “sleepers”: Laaksonen, Pekar, Ruotsalainen, Smith (as high as 5th)

Hoping to establish a consensus Sabrespace top 10 for sure, may go deeper if the interest is there.

Probably keep each poll open for about 48 hours, but will play that by ear.

Heartily supported on both @LGR4GM's value-added prospect talk and on the plans for the polls.

Maybe Fitzgerald is a sleeper?

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10 hours ago, nfreeman said:

Well, I was kinda joking about Joker, but not so much about Mitts.

Are you confident that Mitts is going to live up to expectations?  As @GASabresIUFAN points out, he hasn't set the world on fire at the sub-NHL levels, and as I and others have stated previously, he did not seem able last year to keep possession and make plays against NHL defenders.  That isn't a "he needs to hit the gym so he can win more battles" problem.  It's a "he might not be able to handle the speed of the NHL game" problem.

I think as he grows into/builds more strength he will be a bit harder on the puck and a bit quicker.  For these reasons, I think that hitting the gym actually will help him keep possession and make plays against NHL defenders.

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7 hours ago, pi2000 said:

 

Screenshot_20190710-161315_YouTube.jpg

I recall an interview with him asking about his off-season plans and his response was to the effect that he's not a fan of spending time in the gym... that his affectiveness as a hockey play comes from his hands, not his physical fitness.

 

I'm going to need you to find that interview 

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On 8/12/2019 at 1:46 AM, pi2000 said:

 

Cozens vision and awareness are a concern.   Very good prospect tho, plus skater, but low ceiling.   He was a safe pick.   

Who do you think is better and why, Dach or Cozens? 

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8 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

McKeens says he is a excellent playmaker with “great vision”. I don’t know where Pi read the opposite.

Twitter Manny also had him as the 3rd best player in the draft based on his analysis, and he almost always has in-depth, accurate stuff. Cozens is a top-5 talent. I think people are sleeping on him a bit because his absolute ceiling isn't "Wayne Gretzky with slicker dangles" like every other player picked ever in the range we got him, but he's not just "solid". I think he'll have a far better two way game than Mittelstadt, and his draft position for me puts him above the other 2 in the poll. So I voted Cozens. 

Edited by Thorny
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What Casey did in international play a couple of years ago still reminds us that his ceiling is high.

All 4 on the list deserve solid consideration but I choose Casey using his international stage as the deciding factor.

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Gotta love the highest drafted player on this list being last. 

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42 minutes ago, ddaryl said:

What Casey did in international play a couple of years ago still reminds us that his ceiling is high.

All 4 on the list deserve solid consideration but I choose Casey using his international stage as the deciding factor.

Casey appears to have Tim Connolly upside.  But I also think that he and Joker might have the highest probability of falling short of their ceiling.

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4 hours ago, LGR4GM said:

Who do you think is better and why, Dach or Cozens? 

I don't know enough about Dach to comment.    

I'm OK with the Cozens pick, but was hoping for Caufield at that spot.      He's special, has unique talents.   

4 hours ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

McKeens says he is a excellent playmaker with “great vision”. I don’t know where Pi read the opposite.

I've watched a lot of video on him and he's a bullish power forward with great skating ability, but he needs to work on utilizing his teammates more, specifically in the neutral zone and zone entries, where he seems to skate right into guys at times with the puck on his stick.    He plays with blinders on, he'll need to fix that to be effective against bigger stronger more physical opponents in the national league.     I give him two years of junior before giving him an extended look in the Queen City.     

Love his attitude and drive, could blossom into a terrific top 6 presence if they're patient with his development.

 

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1 hour ago, pi2000 said:

I don't know enough about Dach to comment.    

I'm OK with the Cozens pick, but was hoping for Caufield at that spot.      He's special, has unique talents.   

I've watched a lot of video on him and he's a bullish power forward with great skating ability, but he needs to work on utilizing his teammates more, specifically in the neutral zone and zone entries, where he seems to skate right into guys at times with the puck on his stick.    He plays with blinders on, he'll need to fix that to be effective against bigger stronger more physical opponents in the national league.     I give him two years of junior before giving him an extended look in the Queen City.     

Love his attitude and drive, could blossom into a terrific top 6 presence if they're patient with his development.

 

If he could blossom into a true top 6 RW or C, this team could have (w / in the confines of the system) their top 2 lines, top 4 D, & goaltending tandem starting 2 years out for the 3-4 years following that.  With some legit young candidates vying to fill out those lower F&D roles.

Being able to start drafting for replacing a 2nd liner every other year and 2nd pairing D-man in that off year for 2 seasons down the road starting this coming off-season could leave this team a wide window of being a contender.

(Of course, should Olofsson regress, Pilut & Jokiharju remain tweeners, Thompson become / remain the headliner at 'I don't get it;' and 1 of Cozens or Mittelstadt peak at 3rd line talent; then Botterill's successor's job just got a lot tougher.)

Edited by Taro T

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The winner of the first poll - and the Sabres second-best prospect by the slimmest of margins - is Ukko Pekka Luukkonnen.

 

AA77AB3F-7232-4F5A-A6F1-7C67C166CE3F.png

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6 minutes ago, dudacek said:

The winner of the first poll - and the Sabres second-best prospect by the slimmest of margins - is Ukko Pekka Luukkonnen.

 

AA77AB3F-7232-4F5A-A6F1-7C67C166CE3F.png

So the other three get rolled and one gets added?

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Added to the poll are four more developed players with a reasonable chance of making this year’s team out of camp, or at least by year’s end:

Will Borgen is: a 6’3 196-pound, 22-year-old, right-shot American defenceman picked 92nd in the 2015 draft. He put up 71/3/11/14/56+8 last year as a rookie in Rochester and had a four-game look-see with the Sabres.

What he’s shown scouts: Borgen is a gamer. A hards-as-nails defender who makes opponents pay the price for daring to venture into the same patch of ice. He hits and battles hard, but usually with poise and control and generally makes a safe play once he separates his man from the puck. Unlike some defenders of his ilk, he skates very well, both forwards and backwards, and is good at closing his gaps. His hockey sense is good, but his hands and his puck-carrying skills are non-descript. Any offence he brings will be of the simple, non-creative variety. He will likely contribute to the penalty kill but never see power play time.

He might fail to fulfill his potential if: his defensive skills don’t translate against NHL talent. Borgen simply does not have the skills to play in an offensive role, so if he elevates to an NHL regular it is going to be in a shutdown role. If he is merely adequate in that role, he will not make the jump beyond the AHL.

But if everything goes as hoped, the Sabres might get: a Jay McKee-type mobile, tough defender who is a fan-favourite for his courage and scrappy attitude. Most scouts would probably predict a Mike Weber-type career is probably more likely, but thus far in his career he has exceeded expectations on every step up the ladder.

 

Victor Olofsson is: a 5’11’ 180-pound, 24-year-old, left-shot Swedish winger picked 181st in the 2014 draft. He put up 66/30/33/63 last year as an AHL rookie with the Amerks and added two goals and two assists with his six games with the Sabres.

What he’s shown scouts: They say if a long shot prospect wants to make it, he needs to be really good at at least one thing. Victor has that, an amazing shot - one of the best we’ve seen in Buffalo in years, heavy, accurate and with a lightning-fast release. He also has a knack for finding himself the right seams in the offensive zone in order to take advantage of that shot and has the natural ability to be a trigger man on the power play. His positional play is good and he can complement his shot with decent passing skills. He has a slight frame and does not bring any sort of physical element. He does not shine in traffic, but is good at avoiding it in a way that does not reflect a lack of courage. His strength and defensive awareness needed work but improved as the year went on in Rochester. His skating is good and well-rounded. In his brief NHL stint he looked capable of keeping up mentally and physically with top linemates.

He might fail to fulfill his potential if: his physical gifts don’t keep up with NHL size and speed. He is a slow-cooked minor league scorer at the end of his development curve. He is not the type to drive play on his own and if he is not put with players who can find him in open ice, he is unlikely to produce offence. And if he is not producing, he is probably going to remain an AHLer, because he doesn’t bring much in a bottom-six role.

But if everything goes as hoped, the Sabres might get: someone who snaps their long run of late-round draft failures. His game is a little more cerebral and a little less greasy, but he could match the top six offensive role and stature of another late round Sabre pick, Donald Audette.

 

Lawrence Pilut is: a 5’11’ 180-pound, 23-year-old, left-shot undrafted Swedish defenceman. He put up 30/4/22/26/14/+22 last year as an AHL rookie with the Amerks and added 31/1/5/6/20/-8 with the Sabres.

What he’s shown scouts: Pilut had the respect of Swedish hockey authorities as a junior, with multiple national team selections. But his skills weren’t enough to overcome a build that was both too short and too skinny in the eyes of North American scouts. Or they weren’t enough until he led the Swedish Elite League blueline scoring at 22, earning a free agent contract from the Sabres. Pilut is a heads-up defender with a knack for making quick, intelligent decisions on both sides of the puck. His passing skills and anticipation are excellent and he can skate with it or jump into the play when the situation calls for it. He excels at making plays from offensive blueline. Defensively he can be overwhelmed physically in the corners and in front of his goalie, but he defends the blueline well in transition. After a poised NHL start, he began to wear down under physical pressure and started to cough up the puck.

He might fail to fulfill his potential if: he has already reached it. Pilut is found money, an undrafted player who has already demonstrated he can perform at an elite level at the AHL, and be a useful stopgap in the NHL. At 23 though, it is possible that is all he will ever be.

But if everything goes as hoped, the Sabres might get: a viable 2nd pairing puckmover who puts up solid point totals on the power play. There are a number of more-touted players with a similar style ahead of him, however he is the only non-teenager from that group who plays the left side.

 

Tage Thompson is: a 6’6, 205-pound, 21-year-old, right-shot American winger picked 26th in the 2016 draft. He put up 65/7/5/12/20/-22 last year with the Sabres, and six goals and three assists in a late-season eight-game stint with the Amerks.

What he’s shown scouts: Thompson’s physical gifts are very intriguing. It starts with the puck carrying range created by his length and his enormous wingspan. He has a rare ability to protect the puck outside the reach of most defenders and fish it out of tight spots as a checker. He has slick hands; he can dangle and has a cannon of a shot. Mixed with good straight-ahead speed, he can take the puck hard to the net, or unload at long range. He is rail thin and needs to establish a stronger base and a better burst to take advantage of his size. Too often, he allows opponents to get underneath him. He is also guilty of overhandling the puck and blind passes leading to turnovers. While he has shown the ability to see the ice well at lower levels, that has not yet translated to the NHL.

He might fail to fulfill his potential if: he doesn’t make some big strides in his lower body strength and his general awareness. While his hockey sense looks fine at lower levels, Thompson was frequently in over his head in the NHL last year. He struggled mightily with possession. It was clear that even when he made a good play he often had no idea how to follow it up.

But if everything goes as hoped, the Sabres might get: a rangy second-line scorer with some big play potential, similar to former Chicago Blackhawk Eric Daze. If he can get more physically mature and adjust to the pace of the NHL game the way he did in the AHL, he has that kind of skill set.

Edited by dudacek
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I think the sniper is next best.  10 yr second line, sometimes first line pure goal scorer.

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I would have voted VO last round at number two. I think he’s going to live in the 22-30 goal range the next six to seven years. Probably max out around 55 points a year or so, but he’s going to be our best the best sniper we’ve had in a long time. 

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Olofsson looked the part in his short stint with the big boys.  we'll know if he's real fairly soon.  My guess is he is.

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These write-ups are terrific, but I must admit I’m not clear on how the poll works now.  

I’ll say that TT has the highest ceiling out of the 2nd group, and that RK is eventually going to nurture it out of him, but that VO is going to have the best 2019-20 out of the group.  

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Last I looked VO was already 24.  Hard to imagine he'll improve drastically over the next few years.  I also doubt he'll be around contributing at a high level 10 years from now as opposed to 20 year old Mitts and 18 year old Cozens or 19 year old Jokiharju.  

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Does olofsson count as a rookie next season? (Excuse my ignorance of the criteria). If he does, and gets a ride with Jack out of camp could he be Calder level good? Hope so.

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