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.
Thankfully we haven’t got too far into our rankings before having to make a change. With Cliff Pu being moved to the Carolina Hurricanes yesterday, Sean Malone now enters the rankings as the new 25th ranked player under the age of 25 in the organization.
Which means that Brandon Hickey, now moves up to 24 in the rankings.
Now, that we’ve got the semantics out of the way we can talk about Malone.
The Buffalo native was selected in the sixth round of the 2013 NHL Draft by the Sabres. After spending four years at Harvard University, he signed with the club two years ago. He appeared in one game for the Sabres during the 2016-17 season.
Last season Malone’s first pro season with the Rochester Americans of the AHL got off to a rough start. He started the season with an injury that contributed to the slow start.
Once he got healthy, he was a completely different player. The 23-year-old had a strong second half of the season and was a key part of the Amerks locking up a playoff spot.
The good finish started to create buzz around Malone making the Sabres roster out of camp heading into the offseason. Now, with the moves that have been made over the summer it appears more likely he’ll start with the Amerks.
Malone is one of the players playing on one-year “prove it” deals this summer after signing his qualifying offer a few weeks ago. We’ll see if he can continue to build on how he ended last season and carve out a bottom-six role with the Sabres in the future.