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Ranking the Sabres 1st rounders of the past 30 years:


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In the wake of the Quinn signing. Discuss.

My take:

1) Eichel

  • Dahlin
  • Vanek
  • Reinhart
  • Cozens*
  • Quinn*
  • Ristolainen
  • McKee
  • May
  • Myers

 

11) Kalinin

  • Stafford
  • Biron
  • Boucher
  • Ennis
  • Zadorov
  • Primeau
  • Ballard
  • Armia
  • Girgensons

 

21) Paille

  • Rasmussen
  • Kassian
  • Pysyk
  • Noronen
  • Novotny
  • Mittelstadt*
  • Nylander*
  • Johnson*
  • Grigorenko
  • Cooper

 

31) Heisten

  • Zagrapan
  • Persson
  • Kriukov
Edited by dudacek
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My model doesn't go back that far, and since Vanek was drafted as an overager, I don't even have him. I don't really compare forwards to defensemen, so getting the top two wrong doesn't bother me so much. I wiffed on Okposo, Myers, probably Risto and Pysek, and certainly Cozens and Quinn. Armia, if I recall correctly, had concussion issues. Oh crap, did I just get myself into the Reinhart/Skinner argument?

Rasmus Dahlin SHL 3252
JACK EICHEL NCAA 3107

Taylor Hall OHL 2211
SAM REINHART WHL 1788
JOEL ARMIA Liiga 1766
JEFF SKINNER OHL 1547
ALEXANDER NYLANDER OHL 1484
MIKHAIL GRIGORENKO QMJHL 1462
Dylan Cozens WHL 1275
TYLER ENNIS WHL 1241
DENNIS PERSSON 1026
CASEY MITTELSTADT USHL 1023
ZEMGUS GIRGENSONS USHL 1010
Jack Quinn OHL 1004
MAREK ZAGRAPAN QMJHL 901
ZACK KASSIAN OHL 891
CURTIS LAZAR WHL 792
KYLE OKPOSO USHL 731
RASMUS RISTOLAINEN Liiga 720
MARK PYSYK WHL 654
TYLER MYERSWHL 322

 

Edited by rakish
I forgot one
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7 minutes ago, Cal Naughton Jr said:

People were so mad that we drafted Quinn so high. You have him as the 6th best 1st round pick in the last 30 years 

Yes. I am well aware of the many different ways one can take that.

Would you be surprised if he becomes a better player than Drew Stafford or Tyler Ennis?

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1 hour ago, dudacek said:

Yes. I am well aware of the many different ways one can take that.

Would you be surprised if he becomes a better player than Drew Stafford or Tyler Ennis?

That's a low bar and that's exactly why I liked your ranking.

The Sabres have not drafted well in the first round, outside of the obvious #1 or #2 overall picks, for a long time.

I can be skeptical of the Quinn pick and simultaneously think that he clears the Ennis line.

2 hours ago, rakish said:

I forgot Taylor Hall, above list edited

I only like that one song about players gonna play or whatever it is.  Even then, Fleetwood Mac had the concept a long time ago.

 

EDIT:  Shake It Up.  That's the name of the song.

Edited by Eleven
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3 hours ago, dudacek said:

Yes. I am well aware of the many different ways one can take that.

Would you be surprised if he becomes a better player than Drew Stafford or Tyler Ennis?

I liked the pick personally. Him and Cozens are both still question marks. I definitely hope they both turn out better than Stafford and Ennis

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Yes, I don't think it much matters unless it's measured against the guys they could have had. Like the obvious, you can rank Reinhart high, but Draisaitl would have been higher, so it's a fail.  You have to look at that for each year, and if you do we draft very poorly. Very poorly. and we used to do it so well in the 70s. 

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13 hours ago, Eleven said:

That's a low bar and that's exactly why I liked your ranking.

The Sabres have not drafted well in the first round, outside of the obvious #1 or #2 overall picks, for a long time.

I can be skeptical of the Quinn pick and simultaneously think that he clears the Ennis line.

I only like that one song about players gonna play or whatever it is.  Even then, Fleetwood Mac had the concept a long time ago.

 

EDIT:  Shake It Up.  That's the name of the song.

 

Yeah,  I am always amazed at these teams that find stud, superstar level players in the high teens or twenties and we can't even draft a guy that can make the team in the top 10...

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6 hours ago, PerreaultForever said:

Yes, I don't think it much matters unless it's measured against the guys they could have had. Like the obvious, you can rank Reinhart high, but Draisaitl would have been higher, so it's a fail.  You have to look at that for each year, and if you do we draft very poorly. Very poorly. and we used to do it so well in the 70s. 

Bad example but I understand your point. 

Better example would be Nylander over Sergachev or Ryan Johnson over... Robertson, Hoglander, Pinto, Kaliyev

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Who are our best 25 picks over the last 30 years based on on ice contribution to the Sabres?

These are the names I thought of and not in any order) Dahlin, Eichel, Reinhart, Ristolainen, Girgensons, McCabe, Ennis, Myers, Stafford, Sekera, Vanek, Roy, Pommers, Miller, Gaustad, Kalinin, Kotalik, Campbell, Tallinder, Afinogenov, McKee, Biron, Curtis Brown, May and Smehlik.

Others, Barnaby, Peters, Kaleta, Holzinger, and Foligno.  I didn't put Ullmark or Olofsson because of lack of games played yet.  

Coming up with an order from no. 1 to no. 25 seems like a much harder task, except Vanek, Eichel, Miller, Campbell, Pommers are my top 5. Dahlin hasn't played enough yet to bump Campbell.

Top 5 - Miller, Eichel, Vanek, Pommers, Campbell

Top 10 - Dahlin, Reinhart, Roy, Ristolainen, Afinogenov

Top 15 - Stafford, McKee, Smehlik, Gaustad, Tallinder, 

Top 20 - Myers, Brown, Kalinin, Kotalik, Ennis

Top 25 - McCabe, May, Sekera, Grigensons, Biron 

 

Edited by GASabresIUFAN
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Not going to nit pick the order of the list, I would make only a few changes.  

 

 The overall grade for 30 years is a solid F.   
 

Eichel and Dahlin aside, there are very few players that have made All Star games, and Zero on  first or second league All Star Teams.  
 

The bottom one third of them are complete junk.  

Edited by Pimlach
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10 hours ago, PerreaultForever said:

Yes, I don't think it much matters unless it's measured against the guys they could have had. Like the obvious, you can rank Reinhart high, but Draisaitl would have been higher, so it's a fail.  You have to look at that for each year, and if you do we draft very poorly. Very poorly. and we used to do it so well in the 70s. 

I can't let that go without the Ric Seiling over Mike Bossy reminder

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3 hours ago, LGR4GM said:

Bad example but I understand your point. 

Better example would be Nylander over Sergachev or Ryan Johnson over... Robertson, Hoglander, Pinto, Kaliyev

Or Seiling over Bossy. 

1 minute ago, mphs mike said:

I can't let that go without the Ric Seiling over Mike Bossy reminder

Lol

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10 hours ago, LGR4GM said:

Bad example but I understand your point. 

Better example would be Nylander over Sergachev or Ryan Johnson over... Robertson, Hoglander, Pinto, Kaliyev

Nylander was definitely a bad one no argument there. 

7 hours ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

Or Seiling over Bossy. 

Lol

In fairness, a lot of teams passed on Bossy for some reason. 

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20 hours ago, mphs mike said:

I can't let that go without the Ric Seiling over Mike Bossy reminder

Punch knew Bossy was a big scorer.  He went for a solid two way player because he felt the team needed that kind of balance.  It turned out to be a big mistake but at least Seiling was a solid player with a good career. 
 

Reinhart, at least for awhile, was the consensus top forward in the draft.  Draisaitl and him were pretty even in the rankings come draft time.  Who would we have picked if we had the first pick?   I rate Reinhart a solid pick.   
 

Getting a player like Pastrnak at 25, that is something we never do. You have to go back to 1974, Danny Gare at 29.  

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On 11/17/2020 at 2:29 AM, PerreaultForever said:

Yes, I don't think it much matters unless it's measured against the guys they could have had. Like the obvious, you can rank Reinhart high, but Draisaitl would have been higher, so it's a fail.  You have to look at that for each year, and if you do we draft very poorly. Very poorly. and we used to do it so well in the 70s. 

The pick could just have easily been Sam Bennett too.  Something to think about before labeling the drafting of Reinhart a fail.

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56 minutes ago, Pimlach said:

Punch knew Bossy was a big scorer.  He went for a solid two way player because he felt the team needed that kind of balance.  It turned out to be a big mistake but at least Seiling was a solid player with a good career. 
 

Reinhart, at least for awhile, was the consensus top forward in the draft.  Draisaitl and him were pretty even in the rankings come draft time.  Who would we have picked if we had the first pick?   I rate Reinhart a solid pick.   
 

Getting a player like Pastrnak at 25, that is something we never do. You have to go back to 1974, Danny Gare at 29.  

Tim Murray was on record as saying Reinhart was the guy they ranked first overall.

 

You wonder why a Pastrnak was ranked where he was (pretty much where he was picked) but when you look at his numbers, it makes sense.

The guy put up 8/16/24 in 36 games in the Swedish second division in his draft year. A year later he was 10/17/27 in 46 games in the NHL!

Talk about a development curve. It's the type of thing that certainly factored into the Sabres thinking with Quinn.

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33 minutes ago, Hawerchuk said:

Grigorenko, Cooper, Heisten, Zagrapan, Persson, Kriukov. Man, thats a solid F MINUS right there!! Horrible.

The bottom players ten are all horrible.   I am not giving up on Mitts or Johnson yet and consider them TBD.  

Edited by Pimlach
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The problem with ranking these picks is that it has no context.  What are the realistic expectations for a guy drafted 21st or 14th vs top 5?  

For Example: May vs Stafford vs Ennis

May - 14th overall in 1990 - Buffalo - 425gm 67g 89a 156 pts, everywhere else 616gm 60g 132a 192 pts

Stafford -  13th overall in 2004 - Buffalo 563 gm 145g 177a 322 pts; elsewhere 278gm 51g 106a 157pts

Ennis - 26th overall in 2008 - Buffalo 419gm 97g 139a 236 pts; elsewhere (to date) 194g 36g 41a 87 pts

Stafford vs May is no contest.  Stafford was by far the better player for us and in general.  May, for a guy who scored 91 pts in the OHL his draft year including 30 goals, had two good NHL seasons (40 + pts) and never scored 20 goals in a season and had like 15g for the last decade of his career.  Stafford has 20 goal + seasons for us and never scored less then double digits in a full season for us.  Ennis also had 3 20 goal seasons for us and if it weren't for injuries here he'd have been the best player of the three.  It's nice to see him find his game again.  Based on his draft slot, I'd argue that he is the best player of the three.

Right now I'd rank them Stafford, Ennis and then May.

I'm going to add a couple of more from that draft area.

Girgensons - 14th in 2012 - Buffalo - 489 gms, 61g 77a 138 pts

Kassian - 13th overall in 2009 - Buffalo 27 gm 3g 4a 7 pts, elsewhere 498 gms, 79g 91a 170 pts

Armia - 16th overall in 2011 - Buffalo 1 gm - elsewhere 294 gm 55g 56a 111 pts

Primeau - 17th overall in 1994  - Buffalo 225 gm 19g 25a 44pts; elsewhere 559 gm 50g 100a 150 pts

Grigorenko - 12th overall in 2012 - Buffalo 68 gm 6g 8a 14 pts; elsewhere 149 gm 16g 34a 50 pts

The bottomline is that it seems that guys drafted in the middle of the 1st rd, even if they make the NHL are more often then not depth players.  They can have long careers, like May (1000 gms) but is you get a top 6 forward out of the mix, you've hit a home run.  Of our guys Stafford and Ennis are the only guys that ever play top 6 roles, but mostly they like May and Primeau are depth players from a career standpoint.

 

 

Edited by GASabresIUFAN
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1 hour ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

The problem with ranking these picks is that it has no context.  What are the realistic expectations for a guy drafted 21st or 14th vs top 5?  

For Example: May vs Stafford vs Ennis

May - 14th overall in 1990 - Buffalo - 425gm 67g 89a 156 pts, everywhere else 616gm 60g 132a 192 pts

Stafford -  13th overall in 2004 - Buffalo 563 gm 145g 177a 322 pts; elsewhere 278gm 51g 106a 157pts

Ennis - 26th overall in 2008 - Buffalo 419gm 97g 139a 236 pts; elsewhere (to date) 194g 36g 41a 87 pts

Stafford vs May is no contest.  Stafford was by far the better player for us and in general.  May, for a guy who scored 91 pts in the OHL his draft year including 30 goals, had two good NHL seasons (40 + pts) and never scored 20 goals in a season and had like 15g for the last decade of his career.  Stafford has 20 goal + seasons for us and never scored less then double digits in a full season for us.  Ennis also had 3 20 goal seasons for us and if it weren't for injuries here he'd have been the best player of the three.  It's nice to see him find his game again.  Based on his draft slot, I'd argue that he is the best player of the three.

Right now I'd rank them Stafford, Ennis and then May.

 

Yay, somebody finally bit. 😀

My list is not relative to where players were picked, or who else the Sabres could have picked. It's simply comparing their careers

Brad May played 1,000 NHL games, something that only about 350 people have ever done. Line Stafford up against May in a seven-game playoff series and I guarantee May wins that battle every time.

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1 minute ago, dudacek said:

Yay, somebody finally bit. 😀

My list is not relative to where players were picked, or who else the Sabres could have picked. It's simply comparing their careers

Brad May played 1,000 NHL games, something that only about 350 people have ever done. Line Stafford up against May in a seven-game playoff series and I guarantee May wins that battle every time.

IMHO, May was also a victim of how John Muckler evaluated players.  Dudley saw himself in May and often played him with Hawerchuk.  Muckler exiled him to the bottom of the line-up.

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