Sabres 2017 Draft Class

The NHL Draft closed up on Sunday June 24, 2017 and the Sabres made six selections over the course of the two day draft. Here is the break down and analysis of each pick.

Round: 1, Selection: 8, Casey Mittelstadt (Eden Prairie), C/W, 6’1″, 201
The Sabres hit a home run by selecting Mittelstadt at eighth overall, he has all of the necessary tools you want in an offensive prospect. Mittelstadt can score and provide offense as good as anyone in the class, his big body frame is something that you don’t see in every prospect and he will only continue to grow and develop. I see the Sabres moving Mittelstadt to the wing to play alongside Eichel, forming a deadly line with Reinhart on the other wing. Sabres fans are concerned by his combine performance, and the fact that he is going to college but to me there isn’t much to worry about. Mittelstadt is an excellent hockey player something that isn’t shown at the combine. As for the college thing, Mittelstadt is a top 10 pick and I seriously doubt he will stay in college long enough to walk away from the Sabres.
NHL Projection: Top 6 forward
Projected NHL Arrival: 2018-19

Round: 2, Selection: 37, Marcus Davidsson (Djugardens IF), C/W, 6’0″, 192
The Sabres opted to take another forward with the 37th selection, which may be a head scratcher to some but I like the pick. Davidsson is a strong speedy forward who has some punch to his game. To me this pick is a lot like the Asplund pick from last year, a two-way forward who has plenty of time to develop over in Europe before being forced to come to North America and play pro. Davidsson also has versatility being able to play wing and center which is always a plus especially in the NHL. Tough to say if he will be an impact player in the future but adding a skilled speedster to the prospect pool is never a bad thing.
NHL Projection: Bottom 6 forward
Projected NHL Arrival: 2019-2020

Round: 2, Selection: 54, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (HPK U20), G, 6’4″, 196
As Botterill has shown over his front office tenure, goalies in the second round seem to be a certainty. With the 54th pick Botterill selected the top ranked European goalie in Luukkonen. I like this pick a lot because the Sabres desperately need goalie depth in the organization especially with Peterson leaving for Free Agency. Luukkonen is a big bodied goalie who had a very successful draft year, posting the best GAA (1.75) in the Finnish Jr. League. Luukkonen in my opinion becomes the top goalie prospect in the organization (aside from Ullmark), I feel he has a better shot at the NHL over Johansson.
NHL Projection: Starting Goaltender
Projected NHL Arrival: 2021-2022

Round: 3, Selection: 89, Oskari Laaksonen (Ilves U20), RHD, 6’1″, 165
In the third round the Sabres made a very surprising pick by selectin Laaksonen, a player that wasn’t on any draft projection lists. I honestly do not know what to think of this pick because there is a lot of unknown about this player. However the Sabres did add a prospect who fills a need, a defenseman and a right-handed defesneman to be specific. He does have some offensive punch to his game, scoring nine points in 27 games in the Finnish U20 league, if he gets the correct development he could be an NHL defenseman one day.
NHL Projection: Depth Defenseman
Projected NHL Arrival: 2020-2021

Round: 4, Selection: 99, Jacob Bryson (Providence College), LHD, 5’9″, 185
With their fourth round selection the Sabres grabbed Providence D-Man Jacob Bryson. Bryson, 19, a smaller defender with a lot of offensive upside in his game. As a freshman at Providence he scored three goals and added 17 assists for 20 points. Botterill likes college players and this pick shows that, again fans will worry that he could leave for free agency but as with any draft pick there is risks you have to take. If this pick pays off I can see Bryson being a good contributor from the blueline especially on the powerplay.
NHL Projection: 5th-6th Defenseman
Projected NHL Arrival: 2019-2020

Round: 7, Selection: 192, Linus Weissbach (Tri-City Storm), W, 5’9″, 161
As weird as it sounds the the Sabres made a great selection with their seventh round puck. Weissbach was an offesinve force in the USHL, scoring 47 points in 49 games. He is quick and highly skilled following the theme of every other Sabres draft choice. Weissbach is committed to the University of Wisconsin where he will be able to grown and further his development before being ready to take the leap to the professional level.
NHL Projection: 3rd Line Scoring Winger
Projected NHL Arrival: 2020-2021

Overall I give the Sabres a B+ for their 2017 Draft. Botterill developed an idea to go with speed and skill and followed that idea perfectly. I think that 4 of these 6 picks will be able to make an impact on the NHL level, nd the pick of Mittelstadt gets better the more you think about him alongside Jack Eichel.

I know there are some criticisms of the picks but fans have to be patient and trust the new regime.

What do you think of the Sabres Draft? Send your feedback to @SabresFanatics and follow myself @austin_broad

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