Season Stats: 33 GP | 4 G | 2 A | 6 PTS
Contract Status: RFA
The Sabres have an interesting decision ahead of them as Nick Baptiste approaches restricted free agency. In a year where fans (and likely the organization) were hoping to see him finally prove that he’s ready for a full-time role in the NHL, the 22-year-old left them with more questions than answers.
After selecting him 69th overall in 2013, the Buffalo fan base had extremely high hopes for the big power-forward. Last season with the Rochester Amerks, he posted 41 points in 59 games, a 13 point improvement from his production in 2015-16. He regressed significantly from a scoring standpoint in the AHL this year, though he did receive a longer look with the Sabres during the second half.
Despite only producing six points during his 33 game stint with the big club, he has all of the tools to be an effective NHL player. He’s big, fast and has the ability to score some highlight-reel goals, but he needs to find his consistency in short order. With several other young forwards looking to compete for a permanent role in Buffalo next season, this may be Baptiste’s last chance to separate himself from the pack, assuming the team elects to re-sign him this summer.
Given the extended look he got at the end of the year, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if Jason Botterill brought Baptiste back on a short-term deal. At worst, he still provides a veteran scoring presence in Rochester, something that the organization has emphasized as a big reason for the Amerks’ turnaround this year.
He is still young, and the potential is there, but his time is running out. The Sabres have quite a bit of talent on the farm at forward and his performance in 2017-18 hurt his stock. If he is re-signed, he certainly has his work cut out for him.
Season Grade: D
What grade would you give Nick Baptiste this season?
This poll is closed