Sabres European prospects season review

By James Schwegler

Jhonas Enroth, G, Sweden

Enroth had an impressive rookie season with Södertälje of the Swedish Elite League, producing a 2.13 GAA and .932 save percentage in 27 games, including two shutouts.  He was also productive in the World Junior Championships, earning 4 wins in 5 games, with a 2.33 GAA, and .905 save percentage. 

During his progression through the lower Swedish leagues, Enroth had consistently above average numbers, and he has continued to produce similarly during his time in the prestigious Elitserien.  He lost out as rookie of the year to Red Wings prospect Daniel Larsson.  A second-round pick of the Sabres in 2006, he must be signed by June 1.

Philippe Gogulla, F, Germany

This big forward has shown playmaking ability by consistently racking up impressive assist numbers throughout his career.  In 2007-08, he stayed true to form for Team Germany in the WJC and the WC.  He filled up the stat sheet in his third season with the Cologne Sharks of the German league (DEL), posting 11 goals, 33 assists, a +11 rating, and 30 PIM in 51 games.  Gogulla was a second-round pick of the Sabres in 2005.

Dennis Persson, D, Sweden

Persson played the most gamesin the SEL this year than ever before — 21 — but he is still working towards being a regular player there.
He had just one assist in those 21 games, and a consistently negative plus/minus rating.  As a defensive defenseman, he needs to either score more, or become even better defensively.  A first-round pick of the Sabres in 2006, he must be signed by June 1. 

Vyateslav Buravchikov, D, Russia

In his third season in the Russian Super League, the second with Ak Bars, this stay-at-home defenseman had a workmanlike season, scoring one goal while recording 12 PIM and a +3 rating in 46 regular-season games, along with one goal and a +3 rating in nine playoff games.  Buravchikov was drafted in 2005, and the Sabres retain his rights due to the lack of IIHF agreement with Russia.

Felix Schutz, C, Germany

Schütz was the top goal scorer in the 2007 WJC, with five in six games.  After two good seasons in the QMJHL, he returned home to his native Germany and put together a nice 2007-08 campaign with ERC Ingolstadt of the DEL.  In 46 games, he had 12 goals and 13 assists, with a +4 rating and 76 penalty minutes.  In three playoff games, he had one assist and a -2 rating.  The Sabres have until June 1 to sign Schutz, a fourth-rounder in 2006.

Denis Ezhov, D, Russia

Ezhov’s game is not flashy.  He prefers to make the smart play and perform steadily and responsibly.  He continued on that track during the 2007-08 season, his third in the Russian Super League.  In 57 games, he had four goals, nine assists, with 64 penalty minutes and a +7 rating, showing slight improvement over his previous season with the team.  He did not have any points in three playoff games, and had a -1 rating, with 10 PIM.  Already 23, Ezhov needs to make the move to North America if he’s going to.

Maxim Sheviev, C, Russia

While posting mediocre numbers, Sheviev enjoyed the most productive statistical season of his career in 2007-08 with Elektrostal in Russia’s second division.  He played in 58 games, recorded 6 goals and 11 assists, and accumulated 68 penalty minutes and -14 rating.  During the last three seasons, Sheviev put up plus/minus ratings of -14, -9, and -17.  Turning 24 this summer, the window of opportunity for this prospect has likely closed.