The Buffalo Sabres missed the postseason for the eighth consecutive season and will pick inside the top-10 for the seventh straight year.
Over the last five seasons, the Sabres have drafted No.1 overall once (Rasmus Dahlin) and No.2 overall twice (Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel) yet they have not been over .500 since 2012. With that said, those three are great building blocks for the Sabres and having the No.7 and No.30 overall picks in this draft should allow them to add two more integral pieces.
The Sabres have missed on a number of early picks in recent years. Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons never turned into anything special after being taken No.12 and No.14 in 2012. Alexander Nylander has just 19 games of NHL experience since being taken No.8 overall in 2016 and Casey Mittelstadt is coming off of a disappointing 2019 campaign, scoring just 12 goals with 13 assists (25 points) in 77 games. Nylander and Mittelstadt still have high-end potential moving into 2020 but the level of concern is starting to rise.
With the No.7 Overall Pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, the Buffalo Sabres select…
Kirby Dach — C — Canada 🇨🇦
There is a lack of defensemen prospects in this class and landing Dahlin last year makes taking a centre an easy option for Buffalo.
With Reinhart playing primarily on the wing, Mittelstadt settling into more of a third-line role last year, the Sabres need a second-line centre prospect to play behind Eichel. Dach should provide them with that and then some. Dach has tremendous size (6-foot-4, 198 lbs) and combines that with fantastic speed, hands and hockey IQ.
Dach’s numbers weren’t overly impressive, scoring just 25 goals with 48 assists (73 points) in 62 games with the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL. Dach was tasked with playing massive minutes as the team’s top offensive and defensive centre. The 18-year-old uses his speed, reach and hands to be a one-man zone-entry for Saskatoon and uses his high-end vision and playmaking ability to set-up his teammates as a pass-first centre. The only issue with Dach is he disappeared at times this season but has the skill toolbox to dominate the WHL next season and be a future top-line centre—No.2 centre in Buffalo. Dach’s game resembles that of Mark Scheifele and would give the Sabres an impressive collection of centres to build around.
When you look at Dach’s frame, his high-end hands, his fantastic vision, his ability to play heavy minutes and the fact he skates quite well for a big man, all the components are there for him to become an impact NHL player. There is no guarantee to that happening though. For stretches of the season he left scouts wanting, and there are debates in the industry if he has what it takes to raise his game to that highest level on a consistent basis. When he’s on, there is no doubt he can take over a game at the NHL level. — Corey Pronman (The Athletic)
He covers the ice well with his smarts and vision and brings a little bit of a nasty streak to his game. The 18-year-old right-shot forward has good size (6-4, 197), strength, playmaking ability and a maturity to his game, and is a legitimate offensive threat each time he has the puck. — Mike Morreale (NHL.com)
- #8 — HockeyProspect.com
- #7 — Future Considerations
- #11 — ISS Hockey
- #3 — NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)
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