Buffalo Sabres Draft Pick History: What Happened?
Where you’re picked is only the beginning.
As you’re probably well aware by now, the Buffalo Sabres currently hold 11 picks in the 2022 NHL Draft, being held later this week in Montreal, Quebec. Let’s take a quick look at where the Sabres are picking this year and how they’ve used those same picks in the past.
If nothing else, take this as a friendly reminder: draft position and number only matter so much. It’s what a player does with the opportunity - and how their team helps them in their development - that matters in the long run.
In 1982, the Sabres selected winger Paul Cyr from the WHL’s Victoria Cougars with this pick. Cyr spent one more year in juniors before making the jump to the NHL. He played six seasons - the majority of his pro career - with the Sabres, but also skated with the New York Rangers and Hartford Whales. In the end, he recorded 241 points (101-140) and 623 PIMs in 470 NHL games.
The Sabres have picked 16th overall four times in franchise history, with mixed results. Most recently, there were Nikita Zadorov (2013) and Joel Armia (2011), neither of whom ended up panning out for the organization, and both of whom have made names for themselves elsewhere. In 1995, the Sabres used this pick to draft Martin Biron, who appeared in 508 NHL games over the course of his career between 1998 and 2014. Prior to that, they selected Dave Andreychuk in 1982 - and he, of course, went on to score 1,338 points (640-698) in 1,639 career games.
In the 1973 NHL Amateur Draft, the Sabres selected defender Jean Landry from the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts. He never played a game in the NHL or in the Buffalo organization.
In 1980, Buffalo selected winger Mike Moller with the 41st overall selection. He spent parts of five seasons in the Sabres organization, then bounced around between the Edmonton Oilers and AHL’s Nova Scotia Oilers for a few years. His career ended with a stint with the Binghamton Whalers and 134 career NHL games.
This is another one with mixed results. On one hand, you’ve got 2014 pick Brycen Martin, who’s spent the last five seasons in the ECHL with a myriad of teams. On the other hand, you’ve got Clarke MacArthur (2003), Daren Puppa (1983) and Gilles Hamel (1979). Those three combined have - no kidding - EXACTLY 1,500 games of NHL experience, pretty evenly split.
Of the four times the Sabres have picked here, only one player - 2003 defender Jan Hejda - has made the jump to the NHL. Unfortunately, his jump wasn’t with the Sabres organization; Hejda played with Edmonton, Columbus and Colorado between 2006 and 2015 for a total of 627 NHL games.
Defenseman Mike Martone (1996) made it as far as the AHL - again, not with Buffalo while David DiVita (1988) did spent parts of two seasons with the Rochester Americans. Winger Chris Marshall (1987) spent most of his career in the ECHL.
Center Christian Ruuttu (1983) is by far the most significant name at this pick. He joined the Sabres a few years after his draft and played six seasons in Buffalo. From there, he saw stints in Chicago and Vancouver, as well as more overseas play. In total, he appeared in 621 NHL regular-season games with 432 career points in that stretch.
Jacob Lagace (2008) played a few seasons in the AHL with Portland/Rochester, but never saw NHL action. His last known activity was in the 2020-21 season with Rouen in France. Meanwhile, Mark Adams (2009) went on to play our years at Providence College and doesn’t appear to play hockey at all anymore.
The Sabres have never picked here before.
2018 pick William Worge-Kreu hasn’t made the jump to North America, instead electing to continue playing in Sweden since his draft year. Goalie Nick Eno (2007) spent four years at Bowling Green State University and one year in the SPHL before dropping away from the game, while Jason Winch (1990) played parts of two seasons with the Amerks but never saw any NHL action.
The Sabres have picked at 202 only once, but it was a decent one: Nathan Paetsch, in 2003. Paetsch was actually originally drafted by the Capitals 58th overall in 2001. A few years later, Buffalo picks him up - and it works out pretty well. He spent seven seasons in the Sabres organization in his initial go-around, but his impact was felt most heavily with the Amerks. He later played with the Amerks again from 2017 until 2020.
David Littman (1987) played just three NHL games over the course of his career - two of which were with the Sabres. He played with the Amerks and Sabres (mostly Amerks) between 1989 and 1992. After a brief stint in Tampa, he saw time in the IHL, AHL and ECHL. Spencer Meany (1991) finished his collegiate career with St. Lawrence before playing three seasons with the ECHL’s Raleigh Icecaps to finish his playing career.