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.
Photo: Goaltender Andrey Makarov went 15-0 in the month of February. Makarov was signed by the Buffalo Sabres as a free agent in 2012. (Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
Saskatoon Blades goaltender Andrey Makarov (BUF) is the Hockey's Future Prospect of the Month for February. The undrafted Russian goaltender rocked the WHL last month, posting a 15-0 record, a 1.72 goals-against average, a .948 save percentage, and two shutouts.
Photo: Mikhail Grigorenko remains the top prospect for the Buffalo Sabres. Drafted 12th overall in 2012, Grigorenko has played 17 games in the NHL this season. (courtesy of Cliff Welch/Icon SMI)
The Buffalo Sabres prospect pool is in a state of transition, with many of their top prospects, such as Mikhail Grigorenko and Marcus Foligno, now contributing to the NHL roster. Many of the Sabres other prospects, such as Andrey Makarov and Daniel Catenacci, are dominating their respective competition levels and appear poised to move on to the professional level next year. In general, the Sabres have good depth at every position, though they are deepest at center and on defense.
Photo: Forward Tyler Ennis (left) and defenseman Tyler Myers (right) were both selected in the first round of the 2008 NHL Draft. Both are considered key components of Buffalo's young core. (courtesy of Jerome Davis/Icon SMI)
It was clear by the end of the 2007-08 season that the Buffalo Sabres needed to reload. The team missed the playoffs after making it to the Eastern Conference Finals the year before and finished fourth in the Northeast Division, their lowest finish since the 2004-05 NHL lockout.
Photo: University of Minnesota forward and Buffalo Sabres prospect Christian Isackson is making a good impression in his sophomore season with the Golden Gophers (courtesy of University of Minnesota Athletics)
With 15 drafted players on their roster, the University of Minnesota features more NHL prospects than any other NCAA team this season. So it is easy for lesser-known players to receive smaller amounts of attention. But sophomore and Buffalo Sabres prospect Christian Isackson is emerging from the shadows of the team’s top players and is beginning to establish himself as a rising star in the Golden Gophers’ talent-laden lineup.