Oct 4, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres left wing Thomas Vanek (26) skates prior to the game against the Ottawa Senators at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Draft Hits And Misses - Buffalo Sabres

Over the next couple of weeks I will look at each team in the NHL, and see how they have performed at the NHL draft.  There are basically 3 really important areas to determine the level of success at one of the most inexact sciences in the game – selecting 17 and 18 year old kids and projecting what they will be like over the next 10 or 15 years.

Those three areas are: 1) Success in the first round; 2) Success in the second round and 3) The number of drafted players playing on a team’s roster.  I limit it to the first 2 rounds because that is where a majority of the impact players come from, and also where mistakes in judgement are magnified.  Players that come after the second round for the most part are fortunate picks and if they work out it is a bonus.  Henrik Zetterberg, for example, was a 7th round pick, and although you could claim Detroit was skilled in unearthing a prospect at that point in the draft, if they had known he was going to be as good as he turned out to be, they wouldn’t have waited that long. There is as much good luck as good management for a player like that, and that is factored in in the 3rd area of success.

Now we turn our attention to the Buffalo Sabres, and their track record since the year 2000.


The Sabres have selected 17 players in the first round, with 11 of them making some impact in the NHL, for a success rate of 65%.


In the second round, 6 of the 16 players they selected have gone on to play a significant amount of time, resulting in a 38% success rate.


The Sabres had 18 Buffalo-drafted players play games with them this past season.


SUCCESSESThomas Vanek at #5 in 2003 is probably the Sabres best pickup.  They have had 5 first round picks in the last three years that will be key to the Sabres rebuild, especially Nikita Zadorov and Rasmus Ristolainen.

FAILURES – Marek Zagrapan (13th overall in 2005) and Dennis Persson (24th overall in 2006) were busts that never played in the NHL and the back to back misses hurt the franchise going forward.

STEALSDennis Wideman was picked with the 241st pick in 2002, but never signed in Buffalo, heading to St. Louis as a free agent.  Paul Gaustad was drafted 220th in 2000.  The Sabres haven’t had a lot of success in the later rounds recently which has also affected their ability to compete.




* Score is determined by a formula that encompasses all three aspects listed above and graded on a curve with the highest ranking team awarded a perfect  score and 100% rating and the remainder of the clubs given a percentage of that score.

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Tags: Dennis Wideman Draft Hits And Misses Sabres Thomas Vanek

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