Buffalo Sabres Top 25 Under 25: #21 - Dan Catenacci
The speedy forward's production wasn't earth shattering in his first professional season.
Weight: 183 lbs.
2013-14 team: Rochester
Acquired: Taken in the third round (77th overall) in the 2011 draft
Last year's ranking: 15
Catennacci was lighting up the OHL with the Owen Sound Attack and the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. His scoring went down quite a bit in his first season in the AHL, only scoring ten goals and ten assists.
He's got impressive speed and acceleration, but also isn't afraid to get into the corners and utilize a physical game. He may be on the smaller side, but he's plays bigger than 5'10". In that way he fits right in with many in the Sabres prospect pool.
Like previously ranked Eric Cornel, Catenacci is another top draft pick in juniors. In 2009 he was taken first overall by Sault Ste. Marie. The investment paid off, as Catenacci scored more than 70 points in every year but his rookie season.
After playing two games at the end of the season and two in playoffs in 2012-13 he played his first full season in Rochester this season. He finished 13th on the Amerks in points, obviously less than what he hopes to produce.
Catennaci won't be producing at the level he did in the juniors in the AHL and definitely not in the NHL, but the Sabres would like him to up his totals this season. He projects as a third-line player according to Kris Baker, so he will be facing heavy competition to make the Sabres going forward. The Sabres seem to have an excess of bottom six players, and only so many will stick around.
The major perk with Catenacci is that he possesses a scoring touch despite the fact that he'd be playing on a third line. With the way the Sabres are put together currently, there aren't many bottom six players you can say that about.
But that's looking ahead a bit. Catennacci will be back in Rochester next season and will get an opportunity to raise his stock again.
Want to check out the latest in the Top 25 series? You can find it here.