Inside Look: 2009 Buffalo Sabres Draft Class


The 2009 NHL Entry Draft has come and gone, leaving many to analyze the aftermath. 

I’m going give you a recap of what the Buffalo Sabres did with their selections, and what it could mean for the future of the club.

Heading into the draft, there were a few issues that needed addressing: firstly, the team lacked a puck-moving defenseman and had since the departure of Brian Campbell. Finding one in the middle of the first round wasn’t likely heading into the weekend, however.

Secondly, the team was painfully undersized. Finding a top-six forward with size and toughness would be a huge priority.

The third issue, secondary scoring, could even be addressed in one pick.

So, with their first selection, No. 13 overall, the Sabres selected right winger Zack Kassian from the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League. Kassian fits the size quota well, coming in at the 6’2″ 215 lb range.

He improved tremendously from 2007-08 to last season, jumping from nine goals to 24, while improving his point total from 21 to 63.

Ideally, he will create plays for his smaller linemates by using his size in the corners and along the boards. He has the ability to be a smasher with some hands, and could top out as a second-liner (should he develop properly).

With their third-round selection, they added even more size with defenseman Brayden McNabb from Kootenay of the Western Hockey League.

McNabb is a monster, tipping the scales at 6’4″ 200lbs. He says that he patterns himself after Robyn Regehr for his steady, stay-at-home style of play. Frankly, if the kid can turn out to be anything like Regehr, that’s a huge plus for the Sabres.

In the fourth round, Buffalo drew from within the Sabre family, so to speak, by selecting former Sabre Mike Foligno’s son, Marcus. Another big kid, measuring in at 6’2″ 200 lbs., Foligno has the skills to be a power forward, but he’s a project, to say the least.

He’ll need to work on his hands, but he likes driving to the net and, frankly, guys like Dave Andreychuk (no disrespect) made a career out of that.

Rounding out the draft are defenseman Mark Adams (6’1″ 187), goaltender Connor Knapp (6’5″ 215), and winger Maxime Legault (6’2″ 195). 

Overall, it’s a solid class if the Sabres’ top two picks turn out well. Selecting a guy like Kassian was a big need, and he has a lot of potential to be an impact player. The Sabres added a ton of size here, of which they desperately needed.

A solid weekend’s work for the front office. Let’s just hope these kids pan out.

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