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.
Photo: USA defenseman and Winnipeg Jets prospect Jacob Trouba capped off a fine showing at the 2013 WJC with a gold medal and tournament All-Star team selection (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)
The USA completed their comeback from a poor showing at last year's U-20 World Junior Championship to win the gold medal at the 2013 edition of this event.
Photo: Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen turned in a good performance at the 2013 World Juniors, which should help solidify his standing as a top defensive prospect for the 2013 NHL Draft (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The 2013 World Junior Championship tournament did not go as Team Finland had hoped, with that country playing in the relegation round and finishing a disappointing seventh. While winning a medal seemed like a daunting task for Finland given the amount of talent available to all of the teams this year, it was generally felt that the team would at the very least compete in the playoff round.
Photo: Mark Pysyk is one of several talented defensive prospects the Buffalo Sabres have at the AHL level. (Abelimages/Getty Images)
The Buffalo Sabres' AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans, are one of the biggest beneficiaries of the NHL lockout. Though Cody Hodgson, Marcus Foligno, Brayden McNabb, and T.J. Brennan have, for the most part, been pillars for head coach Ron Rolston, the Amerks are currently sitting just out of playoff position. Hurting the Amerks is overall consistency and a lack of quality depth up front.