The Buffalo Sabres selected a league-high 11 prospects, including seven forwards, three defensemen and a goaltender, at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, which was held Sunday at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. Buffalo also traded defenseman Andrej Sekera to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for defenseman Jamie McBain and a second-round pick (35th overall) in this year’s draft. With the additional pick acquired from Carolina, the Sabres selected five players – two in the first round and three in the second round – in the first two rounds, the most of any team in the NHL.
With their two picks in the first round of the draft, the Sabres selected two defensemen, Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov. Ristolainen (6’4″, 207 lbs., 10/27/94) was selected with the eighth overall pick, the team’s highest first-round selection since 2003. In 2012-13, Ristolainen played for TPS in his native Finland, recording 15 points (3+12) and 32 penalty minutes in 52 games played. He was also a member of Team Finland at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Zadorov (6’5”, 221 lbs., 4/15/95), selected with the 16th overall pick, played with the OHL-champion London Knights in 2012-13. The Moscow, Russia native played in 63 games for the Knights, tallying 25 points (6+19) and 54 penalty minutes, and led all rookies with a plus-33 rating.
In the second round, Buffalo used its three picks to select three forwards. At the 35th overall spot, the Sabres chose left wing J.T. Compher from the U-18 U.S. National Team Development Program of the USHL. Compher (5’10”, 184 lbs., 4/8/95) played in 49 games as captain of the U-18 USNTDP team in 2012-13, notching 42 points (15+27), including a team-leading 27 assists. Compher will play at the University of Michigan this fall.
Three picks later, at the 38th overall spot, the Sabres selected center Connor Hurley, from Edina (Minn.) High School. Hurley (6’1”, 174 lbs., 9/15/95), an Eagan, Minn. native, also played in 20 games in the USHL last season, with the U-18 USNTDP and the Muskegon Lumberjacks, tallying 11 total points (2+9). He registered 43 points (15+28) in 25 games with Edina, leading the team in assists and points on the way to a state championship.
The Sabres’ third selection in the second round of the draft, at 52nd overall, was Buffalo native Justin Bailey. Bailey (6’3”, 186 lbs., 7/1/95), who plays right wing, spent the 2012-13 season with the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL. With the Rangers, Bailey played in 57 games and tallied 36 points (17+19), finishing second among OHL rookies – behind only Zadorov – with a plus-22 rating.
Buffalo selected another OHL forward with their lone third-round selection, choosing Sudbury Wolves right wing Nicholas Baptiste at 69th overall. In his second season for Sudbury, Baptiste (6’0, 189 lbs., 8/4/95) tallied 48 regular-season points (21+27) in 2012-13 and tied for the team lead with three goals and a plus-1 rating in nine playoff games.
The Sabres used the first of their three fifth-round picks to select goaltender Cal Petersen of the Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL) at 129th overall. Petersen (6’2”, 183 lbs., 10/19/94) backstopped the Black Hawks to a 21-11 record in 35 games, recording a 2.97 goals against average and a .906 save percentage, and earning a spot on the USHL All-Rookie Team.
With the very next pick in the draft, the Sabres selected Swedish forward Gustav Possler 130th overall. Possler (6’0”, 183 lbs., 11/11/94) recorded 40 points (19+21) in 36 regular-season games for MODO Jr. in 2012-13, including a team-leading 19 goals. He added a team-high eight points (4+4) in seven playoff games.
Buffalo picked up its third defenseman of the draft 143rd overall, selecting Anthony Florentino of South Kent (Conn.) School. Florentino (6’1”, 227 lbs., 1/30/95) notched 53 points (21+32) in 62 for South Kent in 2012-13 and will attend Providence College this fall.
The Sabres selected another Buffalo native in the sixth round, choosing center Sean Malone at 159th overall. Malone (5’11”, 183 lbs., 4/30/95) registered 27 points in (13+14) in 44 USHL games for the U-18 USNTDP team in 2012-13.
Buffalo rounded out the draft by selecting center Eric Locke in the seventh round (189th overall). Locke (5’10”, 184 lbs., 11/21/93) recorded 97 points (44+53) in 68 games for the Saginaw Spirit in his third OHL season in 2012-13, ranking third among all OHL players in points and tying for fourth in goals.
Buffalo Sabres 2013 Draft Class:
Round (Overall) – Player (Position) / Amateur team
- 1 (8) – Rasmus Ristolainen (D) / TPS, SM-liiga (Finland)
- 1 (16) – Nikita Zadorov (D) / London, OHL
- 2 (35) – J.T. Compher (LW) / USA U-18, USHL
- 2 (38) – Connor Hurley (C) / Edina, Minn. H.S.
- 2 (52) – Justin Bailey (RW) / Kitchener, OHL
- 3 (69) – Nicholas Baptiste (RW) / Sudbury, OHL
- 5 (129) – Calvin Petersen (G) / Waterloo, USHL
- 5 (130) – Gustav Possler (RW) / MODO Jr., Sweden Jr.
- 5 (143) – Anthony Florentino (D) / South Kent, Conn. H.S.
- 6 (159) – Sean Malone (C) / USA U-18, USHL
- 7 (189) – Eric Locke (C) / Saginaw, OHL