Buffalo Sabres 2016 Top 25 Under 25: #22 Anthony Florentino

Florentino has emerged as one of the Sabres top defensive prospects despite being a late-round draft pick.

Anthony Florentino

Position: Defense

Age: 20

Height: 6'1"

Weight: 225 lbs.

2013-14 team: Providence College (NCAA)

Acquired: Drafted in the 5th round (143rd overall) in the 2013 draft

Last year's ranking: Not ranked

When Jack Eichel's Boston Terriers left the ice after suffering a crushing NCAA Championship loss, Anthony Florentino was enjoying what will likely be one of the most memorable moments of his life. He and his teammates gave Providence their first hockey title.

He's moved up the Sabres defensive prospect list, partly due to strong play, but also thanks to his competition disappearing. Nikita Zadorov is gone, Mark Pysyk and Rasmus Ristolainen are both locks for Buffalo. Jake McCabe is the only top defensive prospect left in the AHL. That makes Florentino the second-highest ranked defenseman on our list that has yet to play an NHL game.

Florentino improved on his freshman year point total by three. His +15 +/- was tied for third on the Friars, and he played a tangible part in the victory over Boston University, scoring the opening goal that evening.

Tom Parisi, the Friars' top scoring defenseman (5+14), was Florentino's partner most of the year. Florentino himself was third in defensive scoring, and was a point machine back in high school. However, with his low shooting percentage (.048), it's probably unlikely he'll have much of a scoring touch in the pros.

Florentino got a taste of international action when he was invited to the U.S. evaluation camp. He was one of the eight defenseman that went onto the main camp, but didn't make the final cut for last year's World Junior roster.

Florentino will be returning to Providence for his junior year, looking to defend the team's championship. If he has another solid year he could forgo his final collegiate season to play for Rochester, who will be lacking serious blue line prospects.

Check out the latest in the Top 25 Under 25 series here.