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In parts one
I discussed some players the Sabres should make available for trade and what kind of returns they should be looking to pursue. Now in part three I’ll take a look at some under the radar prospects the Sabres should have their eye on, in lieu of draft picks. A quick note, when you see DY+1, 2, 3 etc. it is simply a reference to the number of years after their draft.
CHL data updated as of February 17th
AHL data updated as of February 3rd
NCAA data updated as of February 20th
SM-Liiga data updated as of February 21st
Data courtesy of:
LW—Jack Dugan— Las Vegas Golden Knights (NCAA)
The Golden Knights are rumoured to be looking for a defenseman having cleared Cody Eakin’s cap space and while this may be a long shot, Dugan is exactly the type of prospect the Sabres should be looking for. He leads the NCAA in assists and is tied for first in primary assists at even strength. It’s also probably worth mentioning he’s a native of Rochester, New York, in case there are any fears about getting him to sign an ELC. Regardless of his proximity to home, Dugan would have a good opportunity with the Sabres given the state of desperation and lack of depth.
RW—Logan Hutsko—Florida Panthers (NCAA)
Hutsko is tied for 4th along with the recently traded Tyler Madden in even strength goals in the NCAA. The Panthers also reportedly have interested in acquiring a defenseman and while much of the focus has been on the availability of Vincent Trochek, Hutsko may be an ideal plan B. A junior at Boston College, Hutsko will likely be looking to pen an entry level deal soon, and with the Sabres paltry depth at right-wing, he would probably see NHL action right away.
RW—Aku Räty—Arizona Coyotes (SM Liiga)
Räty’s stats don’t jump off the page but for a first-year pro in the Finland’s top league he’s been able to hold his own. Räty leads all SM-Liiga rookies in CF% at 59.3 (>30GP) and it’s good for fourth on league leading Oulun Kärpät. He’s been described as a hardworking, effective forechecker who won’t shy away from battles, a similar description to what you may hear about Matej Pekar. It’s a little unclear what the Coyotes may try to do between now and deadline day but if the Sabres have something to offer, Räty should be at or near the top of their ask list.
C—Jack Studnicka—Boston Bruins (AHL)
Up to February 3rd, Studnicka was 5th among DY+3 skaters in even strength primary points per game (minimum 35 GP). When the Bruins made the pick back in the 2nd round of 2017, there was plenty of skepticism as to whether Studnicka had much of an NHL future. However, he seems to have become a key figure on the playoff bound Providence Bruins, and with the NHL affiliate gearing up for a playoff run, it’s possible Studnicka becomes trade bait, especially with so many forwards ahead of him. The 21-year-old right shot centre could be an intriguing by low option for the Sabres, and may be a preferred move for the Bruins having already dealt their first-round pick in the deal to acquire Ondrej Kase from the Anaheim Ducks.
RW-Jason Robertson—Dallas Stars (AHL)
The Stars are actually one of the few contenders I think are better off standing pat at the deadline, but I’ll encourage them to get desperate because I think Robertson would be a great add for the Sabres. Robertson ranks third among DY+3 Skaters in even strength goals and primary points and is likely one of the main reasons the Texas Stars still have any sort of shot at the post-season. The Sabres would likely need to add some value on top of whatever they are selling to get Dallas to bite but Robertson looks NHL bound very soon and would offer some much-needed depth at right wing.
C—Aliaksei Protas—Washington Capitals (WHL)
Protas has had a very good year in the WHL. Among DY+1 skaters, he’s second in even strength primary points and primary assists, four assists ahead of Dylan Cozens in the latter stat. The Capitals recently added Brendan Dillon to their blue line but may not be done adding between now and the 3PM deadline on Monday. A lot of attention will go towards a more well-known prospect like Connor McMichael or their 2020 1st round pick, so if the Sabres are offering up a roster player with term, they may be able to convince Washington to deal Protas instead.
RW—Alex Beaucage—Colorado Avalanche (QMJHL)
The point totals don’t stand out right away, especially for the Quebec Major Junior League, but Beaucage leads all DY+1 skaters in even strength goals with 29. He doesn’t carry the same reputation/trade value as some of Colorado’s recent first round picks like Alex Newhook or Bowen Byram, so he may be easier to pry from the Avalanche. Having said that, they appear to be pretty well set on the blue line, which makes it difficult for the Sabres to deal from that surplus. Nevertheless, the Avalanche are contenders looking to make a run and Beaucage potentially not being at the top of their prospect list should at the very least lead to a discussion for the Sabres.
Thanks for reading!