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Buffalo Sabres Top 25 Under 25, #16: Nick Baptiste

23-year-old must prove himself for chance at NHL

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Vancouver Canucks Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Die By The Blade community. six writers and 718 readers ranked players under the age of 25 as of September 1, 2018 in the Buffalo Sabres organization. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production against future projection to rank each player. Now, we’ll count down each of the 25 players ranked.

Next up in the Buffalo Sabres top 25 under 25 series is #16: forward Nick Baptiste. Baptiste has slowly been working his way up on the team’s radar and split last season between the AHL and NHL, but it’s still likely he ends up in Rochester this coming season with the Amerks once again.

However, the Sabres would have to send Baptiste through waivers, so it’s possible he starts in Buffalo, possibly as an extra forward, and then the team goes from there. Particularly with the addition of Jeff Skinner, the spots on the NHL squad are tight, and Baptiste could be just on the outside of that.

Baptiste is entering his fourth professional season this fall, having appeared in a total of 47 NHL games since 2016. Last season, he put up six points (4-2) in 33 games with the Sabres, but added 22 points in 36 games with the Amerks.

Like his teammate Justin Bailey, Baptiste is on a mission to prove himself this season. The Sabres signed Baptiste to a one-year deal in July. He’s had some chances here and there in the NHL, but really needs to step up this season if he wants a long-term chance in the league with the Sabres.

The Ottawa native was picked 69th overall by the Sabres in 2013.

#25 Sean Malone

#24 Brandon Hickey

#23 Marcus Davidsson

#22 Danny O’Regan

#21 Will Borgen

#20 Mattias Samuelsson

#19 Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen

#18 Justin Bailey

#17 C.J. Smith