2015 Buffalo Sabres Top 25 Under 25: #15 Nicholas Baptiste

Baptiste is one of the top wingers in the Sabres' prospect pool.

Nicholas Baptiste

Position: Right Wing

Age: 20

Height: 6'0"

Weight: 196 lbs.

2014-15 team: Sudbury Wolves/Erie Otters (OHL)

Acquired: Drafted in the third round (69th overall) in the 2013 draft

Last year's ranking: 20

The NHL is a copy-cat league. During the entire tank era, the idea of fitting a model was constantly brought up. Do the Sabres want to build on the Chicago Model or Pittsburgh Model? Now the Tampa Bay Model is all the rage. The Sabres have their Steven Stamkos in Jack Eichel. They may even have their Victor Hedman in Rasmus Ristolainen. If they really want to win a Stanley Cup, they'll likely need some of the players in this 10-15 range to become their Tyler Johnson or Ondrej Palat.

Baptiste wasn't able to keep up the remarkable pace he set last year, when he scored 89 points in 65 games. However, he did maintain a point-a-game pace even before he was playing alongside Dylan Strome. He was named Sudbury's captain at the start of the season, but the team struggled immensely. The Wolves opted to look toward the future, and shipped Baptiste to the Otters for two players and four draft picks.

He finished fifth on the Otters in scoring despite coming to the team late and playing 20 games less than most of his teammates. He scored 23 points in the playoffs, trailing only Connor McDavid and Remi Elie (and one more point than Strome).

Now 20, Baptiste can play in the AHL with Rochester this season. He'll be one of the top young players to keep an eye on on the farm, and could possibly earn a call-up at some point this year. Kris Baker has Baptiste as second on his right wing depth chart behind only Hudson Fasching.

Baptiste projects as a tough secondary winger in the NHL. He's said in the past that he styles his game after Ryan Kesler, who is about the same size as Baptiste. He told Bill Hoppe earlier this year that he was focusing on becoming more of a two-way player this season. At the end of the 2013-14 season he was voted as the second best skater in the OHL by the league's coaches.

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