For the past two seasons, Sabres fans have been living for the future. That's made this annual feature a fan favorite, but this year's may be the most exciting, since many of the top players will be on or are close to being on the team.
If you are new to the site and unfamiliar, every year we put together a list of the top Sabres players under 25-years-old. This includes any Sabres property, whether they are on the team or still a prospect. This year's rankings are compiled from the Top 25 lists of myself, Andy, Calvin and Ryan. Kris Baker had previously agreed to join us, but had to back out due to a time-consuming project he is now working on. We will have a new post every day for each player, counting down from 25.
Last yearwe factored in current talent, but that seemed to create more of a muddled list. Cody Hodgson finished second, which wasn't an accurate represenation of the state of the Sabres' youth. This go around we are ranking the players by value to the team. Think of it this way: Would you trade this player straight up for anyone below or ahead of them?
Tim Murray has been very active on the trade market this season, leading to six players who were on last year's roster no longer being property of the Sabres. Only two players on last year's list have now hit the 25-year cutoff.
- Joel Armia (Traded)
- JT Compher (Traded)
- Tyler Ennis (Aged Out)
- Mikhail Grigorenko (Traded)
- Brendan Lemieux (Traded)
- Tyler Myers (Traded)
- Chad Ruhwedel (Aged Out)
- Nikita Zadorov (Traded)
There are 53 players who are eligible for the list, the same at last year.
|Mark Adams||D||24||Providence (NCAA)|
|Brady Austin||D||22||Rochester (AHL)|
|Justin Bailey||RW||19||Kitchener/Sault St. Marie (OHL)|
|Nicholas Baptiste||RW||19||Sudbury/Erie (OHL)|
|Will Borgen||D||18||Omaha (USHL)|
|Christopher Brown||C||19||Green Bay/Tri City (USHL)|
|William Carrier||LW||20||Rochester (AHL)|
|Daniel Catenacci||C||22||Rochester (AHL)|
|Ivan Chukarov||D||20||Minnesota (NAHL)|
|Eric Cornel||C/RW||19||Peterborough (OHL)|
|Jerry D'Amigo||RW||24||Rochester (AHL)/Buffalo|
|Jean Dupuy||LW/RW||20||Sault St. Marie (OHL)|
|Jack Eichel||C||18||Boston University (NCAA)|
|Giorgio Estephan||C||18||Lethbridge (WHL)|
|Hudson Fasching||RW||19||Minnesota (NCAA)|
|Anthony Florentino||D||19||Providence (NCAA)|
|Jerome Gauthier-Leduc||D||22||Rochester (AHL)|
|Brendan Guhle||D||17||Prince Albert (WHL)|
|Connor Hurley||C||19||Notre Dame (NCAA)|
|Christian Isackson||RW||23||Minnesota (NCAA)|
|Jonas Johansson||G||19||Brynas (SHL)|
|Vaclav Karabacek||LW||19||Gatineau (QMJHL)|
|Jason Kasdorf||G||23||RPI (NCAA)|
|Justin Kea||C||23||Rochester (AHL)|
|Johan Larsson||LW/C||22||Rochester (AHL)/Buffalo|
|Nathan Lieuwen||G||23||Rochester (AHL)|
|Andrey Makarov||G||22||Rochester (AHL)|
|Sean Malone||C||20||Harvard (NCAA)|
|Brycen Martin||D||19||Swift Current (WHL)|
|Jake McCabe||D||21||Rochester (AHL)|
|Brad Navin||C||23||Wisconsin (NCAA)|
|Jack Nevins||LW||21||Hamilton/Rochester (AHL)|
|Victor Olofsson||RW||19||MODO (SHL)|
|Calvin Petersen||G||20||Notre Dame (NCAA)|
|Judd Peterson||C||21||St. Cloud State|
|Gustav Possler||LW/RW||20||MODO (SHL)|
|Mark Pysyk||D||23||Rochester (AHL)|
|Sam Reinhart||C||19||Buffalo/Kootenay (WHL)/Rochester (AHL)|
|Evan Rodrigues||RW||21||Boston University (NCAA)|
|Tim Schaller||LW||24||Rochester (AHL)/Buffalo|
|Devante Stephens||D||18||Kelowna (WHL)|
|Linus Ullmark||G||21||MODO (SHL)|
|Phil Varone||C||24||Rochester (AHL)/Buffalo|
|Maxwell Willman||LW||20||Brown (NCAA)|
Brycen Martin, defense- A third-round pick in 2013, Martin set a career high in junior points (38) while playing for Swift Current and Saskatoon. At the end of the season he spent two games with Rochester, but did not record a point. He's a smooth skater with an offensive touch and puck-moving ability. He finished 26th in our rankings.
Jonas Johansson, goalie- The Sabres have a couple of goalies in the system that show promise, but Johansson may be the biggest question mark due to his youth. Only drafted last year, he only has six games in the SHL under his belt. He spent a majority of this season in Sweden's U-20 league and saw his numbers fall from the year before, posting a lackluster 3.62 goals against average and a .896 save percentage.
Connor Hurley, center- There was a time where Hurley was put alongside Hudson Fasching and JT Compher as the Sabres' top NCAA prospects. After a year in Notre Dame, he's gotten a bit buried at a positon of strength for the team. He scored only four goals and ten assists in 41 games with the Fighting Irish. However, he did have a solid career in the USHL, so we aren't ready to give up on him just yet.
Victor Olofsson, right wing/left wing- Olofsson got his first full taste of the SHL this season, scoring 18 points in 39 games as a 19-year-old. Despite being a fifth-round pick he's shown real promise both in Sweden and at last year's development camp.
Will Borgen, defense- Borgen was only drafted this year, but looked very solid during the Sabres Development Camp. The fact that he's mostly played at a high school hockey level made his sound positioning even more impressive. After finishing his career at Moorhead High he played 18 games with the Omaha Lancers, scoring one goal and five assists.
Dan Cattenacci, center- Cattenacci was on our Top 25 list last year, but after another full season in Rochester it is starting to feel like he's a career AHL player. It doesn't help his case that his 29 points was only sixth on the team in scoring, behind four players who played less game and defenseman Chad Ruhwedel.