Today we take a look at the number 19 draft steal in Buffalo Sabres history. Every day until we reach draft day we will highlight another low round draft pick that went on to great things in the NHL, either with the Sabres or with another team.
Yuri Khmylev- 1992 (5th round #108 overall)
Yuri Khmylev came into the NHL at a very strange time in the history of the league. The former Soviet Union had become Russia and the players were finally allowed to join the NHL. Khmylev was drafted by the Sabres in the fifth round despite being 28 years old. Khmylev had an advantage over most draft picks because of his age and he was able to join the Sabres roster immediately.
In his rookie season of 1992-1993 Khmylev scored 20 goals and added 19 assists in only 68 games for the Sabres. It was also the first time that Khmylev played in the Stanley Cup playoffs and he didn't disappoint, scoring four goals and three assists in only eight games.
Khmylev was able to build upon his rookie season with an even better second season. His second season in the NHL he scored 27 goals and had 31 assists in 72 games played. Unfortunately for Khmylev that would be his last productive season in the NHL. In 1994-95 he scored only eight goals and played in only 48 games because of injury. He scored only eight goals again the following season and he was traded to the St. Louis Blues on March 20, 1996. The trade with St. Louis netted the Sabres some draft picks that eventually became Cory sarich and Max Afinogenov.
Khmylev played in only nine games with St. Louis before bouncing around the minors and eventually retiring.