The Buffalo Sabres announced today that they've signed defenseman Devante Stephens to a three-year entry level contract.
Stephens, who plays for the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL, was drafted in the fifth round of the 2015 Draft and has had a nice year at Kelowna after showing some promising talent last season.
The 20-year old Stephens is a very good skater and a strong presence in his own end, but also saw his point totals increase by leaps and bounds this season as he grew more confident in his role and playing time with Kelowna. He is expected to start next season in Rochester, but will likely need a year or two of seasoning in the AHL before being ready to jump to the NHL.
Speedy LHD took his game up a level this season at both ends. Good mobility, started jumping into more plays. Playing with confidence. https://t.co/FzCB6v41hY— Kris Baker (@SabresProspects) April 26, 2017
Full expectation is that Stephens will be in Rochester for first year at least. I can see two but we'll see. Mobile defense-first option.— Kris Baker (@SabresProspects) April 26, 2017
If you're wondering who signed Stephens, as the Sabres are still without a GM, it was Assistant General Manager Mark Jakubowski, who has been a contract negotiator and salary cap manager for Buffalo since 2008.
Stephens has been a pleasant surprise this season, and if he can continue to grow as a player with the Amerks next season, he could give the Sabres some nice depth options on defense next year and beyond, something the organization desperately needs right now.