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dudacek

POLL: Who are the Sabres best prospects?

Prospects  

63 members have voted

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

    • Rasmus Asplund
    • Will Borgen
      0
    • Marcus Davidsson
    • Matej Pekar
    • Lawrence Pilut
    • Arttu Ruotsalainen
      0
    • Matthias Samuelsson
    • CJ Smith
      0


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3 hours ago, dudacek said:

@... and @PerreaultForever

Wanted follow up on your Thompson comments but I thought this was a better place.

As far as you’re concerned, it wasn’t a gap ase of him just not being ready, you’ve given up on him as a potential effective NHL player?

"Given up" is too strong. He's young enough to turn it around, but not following the same path. That shot of his is hard but he telegraphs it and most of the time it's cherry picking for the goalie. He is a tall guy but not a big guy. He has the potential for a power forward body but plays like a classic European (skates well but wont' get dirty along the boards or in front, defensively lacking and non physical). 

Anyone know if he's added weight or muscle in the off season? Cause that's what he needs, along with the willingness to use it, and so far I see no evidence he has that sort of do what it takes character. 

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6 hours ago, PerreaultForever said:

"Given up" is too strong. He's young enough to turn it around, but not following the same path. That shot of his is hard but he telegraphs it and most of the time it's cherry picking for the goalie. He is a tall guy but not a big guy. He has the potential for a power forward body but plays like a classic European (skates well but wont' get dirty along the boards or in front, defensively lacking and non physical). 

Anyone know if he's added weight or muscle in the off season? Cause that's what he needs, along with the willingness to use it, and so far I see no evidence he has that sort of do what it takes character. 

confused trailer park boys GIF

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11 hours ago, PerreaultForever said:

"Given up" is too strong. He's young enough to turn it around, but not following the same path. That shot of his is hard but he telegraphs it and most of the time it's cherry picking for the goalie. He is a tall guy but not a big guy. He has the potential for a power forward body but plays like a classic European (skates well but wont' get dirty along the boards or in front, defensively lacking and non physical). 

He was a train wreck last season. While he did okay at this past development camp, he was still showing tendencies and characteristics that bothered me about him during the regular season.

He needs to bulk up above the waist and then learn how to use his size - it could be the thing that separates him from the typical NHL forward.  I don't need him crushing guys in the corner, but I do need him to defend the puck while he has it and bump people off the puck while he's trying to gain possession.

He's a 6'5" dude with marginal skating ability who is trying to play like a 5'11" dude with slick skating skilz.  To get him playing to his strengths is going to take a lot of work and I'm not convinced he'll get there. 

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12 hours ago, PerreaultForever said:

"Given up" is too strong. He's young enough to turn it around, but not following the same path. That shot of his is hard but he telegraphs it and most of the time it's cherry picking for the goalie. He is a tall guy but not a big guy. He has the potential for a power forward body but plays like a classic European (skates well but wont' get dirty along the boards or in front, defensively lacking and non physical). 

Anyone know if he's added weight or muscle in the off season? Cause that's what he needs, along with the willingness to use it, and so far I see no evidence he has that sort of do what it takes character. 

Tage's shoulders definitely looked beefier at the development camp, and he still had three months of training left to do this offseason from that point. He's gonna be stronger.

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I read he was really focused on his legs and I see that as a good thing.

It was so easy for checkers to get underneath him last year. He needs that Alexei Zhitnik big-ass base.

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1: Dylan Cozens, C 

2: Ukko Pekka Lukkonen, G

3: Victor Olofsson, RW

4: Henri Jokiharju, RD

5: Lawrence Pilut, LD

6: Oskari Laaksonen, RD

7: Rasmus Asplund, C/LW

8: Ryan Johnson, LD

9: Mattias Samuelsson, LD

10: CJ Smith, LW

11: Matej Pekar, C

12: Will Borgen, RD

13: Marcus Davidsson, C/LW

14: Arttu Ruotsalainen, C

15: Jacob Bryson, LD

16: Miska Kukkonen, RD

17: Linus Cronholm, LD

18: Linus Weissbach, RW

19: Aaron Huglen, RW

20: Lukas Rousek, RW

 

That's what my own personal list is,.  there are some possible slot changes.  Tage Thompson, should not qualify as a prospect any longer should he?  Between the games played this year and in St Louis.  If he does I'd still have him just outside the top 8. 

Edited by TheCerebral1

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5 hours ago, Randall Flagg said:

Tage's shoulders definitely looked beefier at the development camp, and he still had three months of training left to do this offseason from that point. He's gonna be stronger.

This is good news. Let's hope he uses it. 

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Number five is trade acquisition Henri Jokiharju.

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Bumping to see if there are any more voters out there.

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I admit to not knowing a lot about the others. Olofsson looks good and if he breaks out, it will be this year (I kinda think it's going to happen), but Tage has size and a lot of raw talent and is still really young, so I went with him.

Edited by SwampD

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6E17EB6C-9344-4DDE-A169-FF24916F3E8B.thumb.png.5b51b34fec8c3964d86eeca4b7d86f03.png

 

Number 6 on the list is Victor Olofsson.

Final four names being added to the poll and I will try to update this more frequently to round out the top 10.

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Added to the poll:

Oskari Laaksonen is: a 6’2” 165-pound, 20-year-old right-shot Finnish defenceman who was picked 89th in the 2017 draft. He put up 46/3/21/24/36/+2 for Ilves of the Finnish Elite League and added a goal and a gold medal at the World Juniors. He will play in Finland again this year.

What he’s shown scouts: Google failed hockey’s keyboard scouts when this thoroughly obscure defender was a surprise pick by the Sabres in the 3rd round, prompting a few meltdowns, especially when sites listed him as 5’9” and a dental-floss thin 133 pounds. But the numbers on and off the ice have changed and he has become highly touted in some circles, most notably by Athletic scout Corey Pronman. He remains relatively thin and weak for a defencemen but his offensive skills have looked upper-echelon among his peers and translated very well last year to senior hockey. He is a flashy skater and puck handler, with an attack mindset who makes his breakout passes with confidence and authority. He likes to make the high-risk plays and he can pull them off. It can, however, lead to costly turnovers.

He might fail to fulfill his potential if: the boom or bust mentality bites him in the ass. Most NHL coaches don’t have a lot of patience for kids who cough up the puck, get overpowered and get running around. He does come with those risk factors and it could limit him to a minor league role similar to recent Sabre signee John Gilmour.

But if everything goes as hoped, the Sabres might get: a Colin Miller-Jake Gardiner-esque defender whose gaffes are outweighed by his ability to tilt the ice and add extra bullets to the team’s scoring arsenal.

 

Matej Pekar is: a 6’0” 170-pound, 19-year-old, left-shot Czech centre picked 94th in the 2018 draft out of the USHL. He put up 33/14/22/36/38/+7 for Barrie of the OHL last year and was pointless for the Czech World Junior team. He can play for Rochester or return to Barrie this year.

What he’s shown scouts: Pekar wormed his way into the hearts of Sabres hopefuls with an eye-drawing rat show during his first development camp last summer. And his ability to play the pest will be his calling card moving forward. He targets high-profile opponents and gets under their skins using his good skating ability, fearless nature and a persistent stick. He’s not particularly noted for his offensive skills, but the fact that he has put up a point per game over his past two seasons should not be overlooked. He reads the ice well and can make plays against his peers. A broken collarbone ended his season early and he spent a lot of time in Buffalo and Rochester as he rehabbed. He is a gregarious personality and a rink rat who moved to North America to play hockey when he was 16.

He might fail to fulfill his potential if: his competitive nature and hockey smarts aren’t enough to overcome his pedestrian physical gifts. His likability quotient is very high, but some scouts just don’t see an NHL skill set there.

But if everything goes as hoped, the Sabres might get: a fan-favourite coach’s pet 3C with a playoff-friendly game and a tendency to drive opponents to distraction. He doesn’t have the upside of Mike Peca, but in a best-case scenario, that is likely the player he will remind people of the most.

 

Arttu Ruotsalainen is: a 5’8’ 181-pound, 21-year-old left-shot Finnish centre who was an undrafted free agent out of the Finnish Elite League. He put up 59/21/21/42/14/+11 for Ilves. It’s been reported that he will go back to Finland if he doesn’t make the Sabres this year, but others have suggested that’s not written in stone.

What he’s shown scouts: A scoring prodigy as a youngster, Ruotsalainen blew the doors off the Finnish Junior A league hockey to start his draft year, posting at a  league-best pace with 32 points in only 18 games. But his stats in 51 games on the men’s team were far more pedestrian and combined with his size to see him passed over in the draft. Nothing in his next two years made scouts regret that, but he exploded last year as one of the league’s leading scorers and an analytics chart star as well. A fine skater who mixes surprising doses of patience with a fearless playing style, he showed good hockey sense and competitiveness as the team’s centrepiece. He led Ilves in goals while killing penalties and winning face-offs. He was a late cut from the Finnish World championship team.

He might fail to fulfill his potential if: Players Ruotsalainen’s size will always have to overcome skepticism, even in the modern NHL. Despite a solid build, good skating, good hands, and a willingness to get dirty, none of his skills are elite and he will have to prove he can play with the world’s biggest and strongest before erasing the doubters.

But if everything goes as hoped, the Sabres might get: a late bloomer who can play a valuable two-way role in their middle six. Ruotsalainen is a hard projection given the significant leap his game took last year. Was he victim of being elevated to senior hockey too early? Can he continue his upward curve? He has tools to be successful as a bottom roster player. The questions are how much his offence translates at the higher level and how much will his size get in the way?

 

CJ Smith is: a 5’11”, 181-pound, 24-year-old left-shot American winger who was an undrafted college free agent. He put up 62/28/30/58/26/+26 in his second pro season in Rochester and 2 goals in 11 games in Buffalo.

What he’s shown scouts: it’s interesting that most observers have Victor Olofsson making the Sabres this year, while few seem to have Smith in the mix. Their ages are the same, their numbers are extraordinarily similar and Smith had a much more serious look with the big club. You could make a good case that Smith was the Amerks best player last year. Smith is a new-age winger, in that he doesn’t have a great deal of size or edge to his game, but he shows good hockey sense, is diligent and capable in all three zones, and he plays the game with a great deal of pace. He darts into holes and on to pucks and makes quick decisions. He is consistent, coachable and reliable and has a balanced skill set.

He might fail to fulfill his potential if: unlike Olofsson, with his elite shot, Smith doesn’t really have a standout skill in his arsenal - a calling card that will set him apart and get him noticed. While his pace stands out at the AHL level, it did not in the NHL. Last year proved he was an elite player in the AHL, but it also marked his last year as a prospect. It’s now or never.

But if everything goes as hoped, the Sabres might get: a good third liner who can chip in 10-15 goals while providing responsible two-way play. Smith has more skill than your typical lower-roster plug, so if he can play the P.K. and be counted on defensively he has a chance to carve out a career and role similar to what the Sabres got from Dixon Ward

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I think Olofsson generally marked the transition to the players whose floors might be below NHL.

While there are players left who may have higher ceilings, I’m voting Samuelsson because I have no doubt he will be an NHL regular.

 And I think he will be a pretty good one at that.

 

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1 hour ago, Randall Flagg said:

I like all of the rest of the guys from that tier about equally. We do have a solid prospect pool IMO.

There is a really intriguing group left, IMO.

We should get some useful bottom sixers out of the Davidsson/Smith/Pekar/Asplund/Ruotsalainen group.

And there is some real 2nd pair potential from Samuelsson/Johnson/Luukonen.

Thompson is the only forward left with top six upside, but Sam Jack Casey Victor and Dylan already have that covered off.

Edited by dudacek

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Can we get some more voters to break the tie?

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14 minutes ago, dudacek said:

Can we get some more voters to break the tie?

Ryan Johnson, he's the highest talent left on that board. 

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1 hour ago, LGR4GM said:

Ryan Johnson, he's the highest talent left on that board. 

I almost picked him but went with Laaksonen. 

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In a hardly overwhelming, but nonetheless somewhat surprising to me result, Tage Thompson is the Sabres #7 prospect.

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Voting for #8 now open.

Edited by dudacek

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Man, imagine if Kaliyev was on this list. 

It's Johnson. He's a better skater than samuelsson and that gives him the edge. 

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55 minutes ago, Brawndo said:

 

Cool.  Expect he'd be better served developmentally playing in Ra-cha-cha this season.  Would also give him a chance to get called up when the injury bug starts to hit full force.

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bump. Interesting looking poll currently 

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