Our annual Top 25 Under 25 series serves to find the best young players in the Buffalo Sabres organization, be it NHL, AHL, European or junior leagues. We voted on everyone from Asplund to Willman, and the best 25 players get profiled throughout the month of September. Today's subject: Will Borgen
Will Borgen, RHD
Age: 19 Height: 6’2’’ Weight: 188 lbs.
At this time last year, Will Borgen had just been selected in the fourth round of the 2015 draft by the Buffalo Sabres after a strong year of high school hockey in Minnesota. He came in at #30 in last year’s Top 25, receiving just one vote among our four writers involved.
Fast forward a year, and Borgen has jumped all the way to #12 in our rankings, thanks to a strong year that involved a bronze medal in the World Junior Championships as well as a collegiate championship in the NCHC.
Borgen played well as a freshman at St. Cloud State University scoring 14 points in 37 games, and helping the Huskies to a Frozen Faceoff Championship in 2016. He also performed well as a somewhat surprising member of Team USA in the World Juniors, notching three assists in seven games and playing top-four minutes.
So what works so well in Borgen’s game? First of all, he’s a speedy, smooth skater with good size and an athletic body, which helps him play a strong two-way game. He’s also got a fair amount of sandpaper to his style, showing well from a physical standpoint even as an 18-year old. His defensive positioning is sound and he has good hockey instincts that help him put the puck in the right place.
What Borgen lacks are any elite offensive skills that will translate easily to the NHL. He’s a good passer, but lacks the kind of shot and vision to quarterback a power play or play top minutes in the big leagues. Still, he has three years of eligibility left in college to work on that, and the fact that both his college coach and Team USA think highly of him is an encouraging sign.