Sean Malone was drafted in the sixth round (159 overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft by the Buffalo Sabres. He was a notable sixth-round pick for the club because he was born and raised in Buffalo, NY.
He played his high school hockey at Nichols before playing for the US National Development team and then eventually playing collegiate hockey at Harvard.
Malone broke out in his senior year. He had scored 18 goals and registered 42 points in 36 games for the Crimson. His team fell just short of National Championship game losing to Minnesota-Duluth in the Frozen Four.
The 22-year-old signed his entry-level contract with the Sabres after the season and played in one NHL game.
He began his first professional season with the Amerks and it got off to a rocky start. He missed all of training camp with an undisclosed injury. He was behind the eight ball to start the season, which contributed to his slow first half of the season.
Since January 20 he’s begun to make a bigger impact with the Amerks. He has six goals and 11 points in his last 21 games. Those numbers won’t jump out at you, but they’re better than the two goals and five points in the 38 games prior to that.
From Saturday: Alex Nylander uses speed to gain the zone, Sean Malone follows up to clean up the shot attempt for his seventh goal of the year. #Sabres pic.twitter.com/qLEr2fOtUV— Kris Baker (@SabresProspects) February 25, 2018
Malone is not going to be a player who is going to fill the score sheet at the professional level. That being said he’s found a role with the Amerks that can eventually translate to the Sabres.
At the NHL level he projects to be a bottom-six center who plays a solid two-way game. Kills penalties, plays physical and is also a decent skater. Which we know the skating ability is important in today’s NHL.
He has good finish around the net that can translate to good secondary scoring with the Sabres. The bottom six is a mess in Buffalo. There’s no secondary scoring or a lot of speed in the bottom of the lineup.
Malone has an outside shot to make the Sabres out of camp as a fourth line center next season. However, at this point, it’s expected he’ll start next season again with the Amerks. A good start in the AHL could lead to Malone getting an opportunity in the middle of next season.
Jason Botterill loves players who play college hockey and especially all four years in the NCAA to develop.
With all of the attention on prospects in Rochester like Alex Nylander, Justin Bailey, Nick Baptiste, Hudson Fasching, Brendan Guhle and Linus Ullmark. Malone is often an afterthought
The Buffalo native has the potential to be one of those late round picks that end up making it to the NHL and making an impact.