This will be a six-part series highlighting what the Buffalo Sabres' draft plans may be, including an individual look at all four picks the Sabres have in the top 52.
By the time the Buffalo Sabres approach their second of their two second-round picks at pick No. 52, many of the big name players that have had their names floated around for the past few weeks will be long gone. Here, instead, the Sabres will be looking to find that player that is trying to make a name for himself, beyond that of NHL scouts.
Last year, the Sabres seemingly did just that in taking Jake McCabe, who went on to captain Team USA to a gold medal at the World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia this January.
This year, the Sabres have the opportunity to do the same.
Once a team gets into the second round, "needs" are closer to wants as the likelihood that a prospect drafted makes a substantial impact at the NHL level drops significantly once you leave the first round. This draft may be a bit different given the wealth of talent in the first round, but history doesn't lie.
That's why the Sabres will likely go with the best player available at this point, and who will be available is impossible to know. Prospects with second-round grades are just as likely to go in the fourth round, depending on where they fall on a particular team's board.
So, with this in mind, picking the player the Sabres will select brings us well into the realm of conjecture and guesswork.
But if the draft goes according to needs, a few names may jump out to the Sabres.
The first is Justin Bailey, who may end up coming off the board earlier in the second—possibly the Sabres. Bailey is a longer term prospect with above-average athleticism that may bolster the Sabres' second or third line in a few years.
Other talented wingers the Sabres may look to include Nick Sorensen, a teammate of Mikhail Grigorenko's in Quebec of the QMJHL, Hudson Fasching, a member of the United States National Development Team, and Anthony Duclair, another teammate of Grigorenko's in Quebec.
While any of those four players would be excellent additions to the Sabres' ranks, there is certainly no guarantee that they will all be available when the time comes for the Sabres to pick at No. 52. Sorensen, Duclair and Bailey all have first-round potential, and would be clear first rounders if not for the depth of this year's class.
So, if any of these four players are left, the Sabres will look long and hard, no matter who they select in the first round. Bailey seems to be the guy with the most buzz around him in Western New York, which is not surprising given he grew up in Williamsville, just a few miles outside of Buffalo.
Prediction: Justin Bailey, W, Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
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