Photo: Defenseman Alex Lepkowski had a strong playoff run with the Barrie Colts of the OHL. The 20-year-old was a defensive mainstay for the Colts, who finished one win away from a berth in the 2013 Memorial Cup. (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL images)
After finishing last in the Northeast Division for the first time since 2004 and missing the playoffs for the second consecutive season, the Buffalo Sabres are hitting the reset button. The first move was saying goodbye to head coach Lindy Ruff after 1,165 games behind the bench, then shipping captain Jason Pominville to the Minnesota Wild for two prospects and two picks.
Photo: Brian Flynn has been one of the few pleasant surprises for the Buffalo Sabres this season. An undrafted free agent, Flynn managed six goals and five assists in 26 NHL games this season. (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
It is an ongoing process for the Buffalo Sabres as they patiently wait for their prospects to develop. Most of their young players are already playing for the Sabres or their AHL affiliate in Rochester, and the ones still in college have improved by leaps and bounds. Below are the winners of the Buffalo Sabres Prospect Awards.
Photo: Florida Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau finished the 2012-13 season tied for the lead among NHL rookies with 31 points (courtesy of Rich Kane/Icon SMI)
Hockey's Future presents the top grouping of the Spring NHL Team Rankings, the staff's ranking of each NHL team's system based on the strength of the entire prospect pool. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The ranking is done twice a year, with this edition being an update to the Fall ranking.
Photo: Chad Ruhwedel, who led the UMass-Lowell defense in scoring during the 2012-13 season, signed a pro contract with the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
Defenseman Chad Ruhwedel didn’t take a short path to the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. In fact, the junior rearguard’s path was a rather winding one since he first started to play hockey in his hometown of San Diego, CA.
Photo: Defenseman Jake McCabe had a breakout sophomore season with the Wisconsin Badgers. McCabe was drafted 44th overall in 2012. (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
The Buffalo Sabres tend to draft players out of the CHL, and as a result have fewer high-end prospects in Europe and the collegiate levels. Even when the Sabres elected to drafted European-born players with their first round picks, as they did twice in 2012 by taking Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons, both players were playing in North American leagues at the time.