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Buffalo Sabres Top 25 Under 25: #22 - Matt Hackett

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One of the biggest drops from last year's rankings, Hackett needs to prove that he still has potential to be an NHL goaltender.

Bruce Bennett

Matt Hackett

Position: Goalie

Age: 24

Height: 6'2"

Weight: 170 lbs.

2013-14 team: Rochester/Buffalo

Acquired: Traded along with Johan Larsson, a 2013 first-round pick (Zadorov), and a 2014 second-round pick (Karabacek) from Minnesota for Jason Pominville and a fourth-round pick

Last year's ranking: 13

The Minnesota Wild once thought of Hackett as the goalie of the future. He fell out of favor in Minnesota, and unfortunately his first full year in Rochester didn't go wonderfully either. He's one of the players trending down the most on our list, moving down nine spots from his position last season.

Hackett had his worst AHL season statistically last season and showed signs of mental weakness. He had various instances where he lost his cool this season, which led to him being given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on more than one occasion.

Despite all the road blocks this season, Hackett is still considered by many to be a have a more realistic chance of making the NHL than his counterpart Nathan Lieuwen.

Unfortunately for Hackett, he won't get an opportunity to challenge Lieuwen or Andrey Makarov for a few more months. He suffered a broken leg when Torey Krug was checked into him by Jamie McBain, ending his season. Chadd Cassidy told reporters that Hackett's injury will affect his ability to play this season as well. He's targeting December or January for his return.

Hackett signed a one-year RFA qualifying offer this off-season, meaning the second half of the year could be huge for his chances of staying with the team. He's one of the older players in the Top 25 Under 25, already 24-years-old.

He's in the same situation all of the goalies in the system are in. There are only so many spots for goaltenders. With Linus Ullmark coming over from Europe next season chances are the Sabres will move on from one of the three other goalies, Hackett, Lieuwen, and Makarov. Hackett may be the most realistic candidate, due to being the oldest.

Want to see how all the other young players have stacked up so far? You can find all the released 25 Under 25 articles here.