Sabres add defenseman prospect in trade with Predators

Nick Baptiste exchanged for defenseman Jack Dougherty

The Buffalo Sabres have only 12 forwards ready to dress if the season were to start today, and might still be waiting to hear on the fitness of Johan Larsson, but that hasn’t stopped General Manager Jason Botterill from pulling the trigger to add to the organization’s defenseman depth.

In a trade just announced, the Sabres are sending Nicholas Baptiste to the Nashville Predators, and are getting Jack Dougherty back. Baptiste just cleared waivers over the weekend and was expected to be on the top two lines at the Rochester Americans, but now it appears the Amerks get a dman instead.

Dougherty was a 2nd round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, 51st overall by the Preds. A St. Paul, MN native, he is 22, 6’1” weighing in at 186lb. He is yet to play for Nashville and has been with the Milwaukee Admirals in the AHL the last couple of seasons.

Here’s a scouting report from Matt Somma of Dobber Prospects from earlier this month -

Jack Dougherty had a tough sophomore campaign for the Milwaukee Admirals in the AHL in 2018. The 2014 second round pick managed to score just one goal and have 12 points in 63 games, adding 36 penalty minutes and a minus-15 rating in the process. After a 52-point WHL season in the 2015-2016 campaign, Dougherty came into the AHL with considerable hype. Dougherty’s development has taken longer than expected and as of right now, his NHL future is in question. Dougherty is entering the final year of his entry level contract and will need to take a big step offensively in order to keep his place in the Predators’ system.

The Preds SBN blog On The Forecheck had him at #20 in their Top 25 Under 25 countdown -

Dougherty has a legitimate top-4 position waiting for him in Milwaukee if he rebounds this season. Much like Lyytinen, he will be fighting with Allard and Carrier to take the next step, but I could see him as a bubble player (Bitteto-lite) provided he has a huge turnaround this season and grows to master the AHL.

Click through and read the post linked for an extremely detailed analysis on both the player’s offensive output as well as his defensive abilities.

Seems like a bit of a giveaway in exchange for Baptiste as he doesn’t project to more than a 6/7 D but it can also be argued that at this point Bappers’ ceiling is also well-known throughout the NHL/AHL and this is a gamble for the Sabres too to see if Dougherty can come good.