Buffalo Sabres Right Wing Prospects: Mid Season Report Card

By pbadmin

Here are the Buffalo prospects at Right Wing.

Star rating read as follows:

5 stars = Superstar potential

4 stars = A First Rate NHL player. Above average player

3 stars = Good NHL future. An average NHL player.

2 stars = Good minor league player. A below average NHL player.

1 star = Career minor leaguer. Emergency NHL help.

Right Wings


Jeremy Addouno          5-11    182     18      Sudbury (OHL)  3 stars

Acquired: 1997 7th Round Draft pick, 184th overall.

Stats Look: as of 1/9/98

43 25 46 71 +20 28 – 2nd league

Jeremy was a late round pick last who just may be turning into a bit of a
surprise. Though I’m sure they felt they were drafting a player who in many
way, remind them of Donald Audette, I’m not quite sure if they expected him to
provide as much offense as he has. Though it is only junior hockey, Jeremy
is proving that he a solid offensive player.
Though he is a fantastic scorer in junior hockey, he hasn’t shown as much
ability as the number suggest. He is primarily a pass first, score second
player. He needs to try to score more often, because he will find out that
NHL defensemen are much tougher to pass on than junior defensemen.

Currently one of the top scorers in the OHL, Jeremy brings little grit,
strength or toughness to the table. He will have to
spend significant time in minors, just to learn how to play and score again
bigger stronger and tougher competition.

Jeremy’s biggest strength is his combination of skating, passing and hockey
sense. Plus he possess a good wrist shot.
His weaknesses include, average defensive skills, poor size, strength
combinations and a lack of tougnness. Though he does play the game hard. I
also feel he is a willing player, the type who will work hard to make it.

It is way too early to tell if Jeremy has an NHL future. However, just from
the way he currently plays, and understanding the history of the AHL, he does
have a promising minor league career at the very least. The AHL has long been
a good league for smaller players. If he keeps working hard, he’ll more than
likely be given a chance somewhere.

NHL Future: Far to early to predict.

Maxim Afinogenov     5-11    176     18    Moscow Dynamo (Russia)  4 stars

Acquired: 1997 3rd Round Draft pic, 69th overall (3B).

Stats look: as of 1/8/98

Moscow Dynamo No Statistical update
Team Russia (WJC) 6 3 2 5 N/A 2

Maxim Afinogenov, remember the name. If Buffalo has a
dominate superstar prosect, this is the guy. Maxim is another version of
Pavel Bure. He possess all the same skills. An absolutely fantastic skater,
with a deadly wrist shot. He wowed at training camp.
He is very fast and gets to full speed to in strides. He pure goal scoring nightmare, and
someone who may be given a short look next season even at 19 years old.

He was one of Russia’s best forwards at the
World Junior tournament. However, four of his five points were scored on the
opening day, against lowly Kazakhstan. He did drive the nail in Canada’s
coffin with the overtime winner in the quarterfinal.

If skating isn’t Maxim’s biggest strength, then his shoot must be. As far as
a weakness, it’s lack of size and defensive ability. Maxim will be a top line NHL player. It is
only a matter of time.

NHL Future: Superstar.

Matt Davidson      6-2     190     20      Rochester (AHL) 2 stars

Acquired: 1995 4th Round Draft pick, 94th overall.

Stats look: as of 1/5/98

33 2 4 6 -11 6

Matt Davidson is turning out to be a massive disappointment. A hard working scorer
in juniors, Matt hasn’t shown much scoring or hard work in his first AHL
Lack of ice time, poor line mates and lack of great individual skill all play
a part in Matt’s disappoint rookie campaign, but lack of hard work seems to be
the key reason.

He could give a better effort. He seems to be costing, acting like he expects things to kick
into gear any time now. If he would skate harder, play tougher and just plain
work harder. Maybe he would be rewarded with more ice time, better line mates
and more opportunities to score.
The other night Matt had a clean cut break away and he missed the net. Later
he passed up shooting on a two-on-one, trying to pass when the defensemen was
taking that away, daring him to shot. The pass was intercepted, and taken the
other way for the game winning goal.

His biggest strength was an all around game but his weaknesses are too many.
If he doesn’t start to show a lot more, Buffalo might just drop his contract. Maybe this is just an adjustment period, getting used to professional hockey, as
opposed to junior hockey. Matt has been Buffalo’s
biggest disappointment as a prospect in 1997-98.

NHL Future: None, unless drastic improvements are made

Ryan Davis       6-2     185     19      Owen Sound (OHL)  2 stars

Acquired: 1996 7th Round Draft pick, 142nd overall (7A).

Stats look: as of 1/8/98

31 11 10 21 -9 52

Ryan is a big strong kid who doesn’t have much offensive upside. A good
physical player who will mix it up in the corners, but a guy who doesn’t seem
to play as tough and nasty as he can. Ryan is not a great skater, but he is
better than other prospects Buffalo currently has. He does show signs of
being a good third or fourth line prospect, but nothing more.

Ryan’s biggest strength is that he plays a good all around sound fundamental
game. He does the little things, like smartly getting the puck out of danger.
His biggest weakness is his overall lack of skill. Ryan scores tough goals in
junior hockey, rebounds and deflections, and he will need to do that at the
next level if he is to survive.

NHL Future: Limited, but maybe after years of hard work in the minors.

Francois Methot  6-0     175     19      Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL)  2 ½ stars

Acquried: 1996 3rd Round Draft pick, 54th overall.

Stats look: as of 1/9/98

11 13 11 +24 —- – injuried right knee.

Another player very similar to Donald Auddette. Francois was switched from
center to right wing after returning to juniors following Buffalo’s training
camp. He was having a fantastic season when he took an nasty knee to knee
hit. The result was a torn M.C.L. He was supposed to be out until mid
December but he has yet to return to game action, after the knee swelled badly
following surgery.

Francois does posses a lot of offensive skill. He is a pure goal scorer and
that may help him in his future battles to make the team. However, he is
small for his size. Vastly underweight, Francois must bulk up and gain much
needed upper body strength. He is working out heavily
during his down time due to the knee injury. Though getting stronger is
something he must do, he has to make sure he doesn’t hurt his speed, which is
another key asset. Balancing adding strength and bulk, with keeping his speed
and quickness will be very important.

Francois will be in Rochester next year. He will bring much need quickness to
a slow team. He must also provide offensive firepower. Buffalo will
definitely give him ample opportunity to prove he can’t play before they dump
him. If he can score at the AHL level may be given a chance at the next level
quicker than most people think.

Francois’s biggest strength is his speeds, quickness and his ability to score
goals. Scoring is at an all time premium and if Buffalo won’t give him a
chance, someone else definitely will. Weaknesses include lack of strength,
but also, poor defensive work habits. Those will also need to be corrected if
he is to be given a chance.

NHL Future: He controls his own destiny.

Vaclav Varada    6-0     200     21     Buffalo (NHL)  3 stars

Acquired: Trade with San Jose & Philadelphia, Novemeber 1995.

stats look: as of 1/5/98

Rochester (AHL) 25 17 13 30 +14 42-recalled
Buffalo (NHL) 8 0 1 1 -1 4

Enigma. That might be the best word to describe Vaclav Varada. Though this
thick kid from the Czech Republic appears to have the qualities of a solid NHL
player, he hasn’t been able to show it at the NHL level.

Vaclav was called up to Buffalo after scoring a goal in nine consecutive AHL
games. Coach Lindy Ruff said that he felt Varada should be rewarded for his
fine play. He also felt that the call up might motivate the other Sabre
prospect playing in Rochester. Well neither moves appears to have worked.
Vaclav looked good for the first five games, showing plenty of physical play,
and some good offensive flare, but little results came from the good effort.
Ever since his call up, Rochester has played much worse then before. The
other players don’t seem to have enough talent to make it without him.

Vaclav biggest asset is his combination of offensive talent combined with
physical play. However those strength haven’t transferred to the NHL level.
Perhaps he needs more adjustment time, but as a fan it gets frustrating seeing
other teams prospects get a recall and make an impact, while our do not.
Varada’s biggest weakness is an apparent lack of confidence at the NHL level.
Vaclav just plays with more confidence in the AHL. Anyone can see the
difference. He is willing to carry the puck, physical attempt to dominate
players, and just bang and grind at the AHL, but he doesn’t do as much of that
once he is at the NHL level.

Vaclav may have an NHL future, but he still needs more time in the minors. He
has to dominate in the AHL, then do it on an every day basis. Once he proves
he can do that, Buffalo should call him up for an extended look. Just tell
him he isn’t going back down unless he proves he can’t cut it.

NHL Future: Still a possibility, but many questions must be answered.

Kurt Walsh*        6-2     205     20      Kingston (OHL)  2  stars

Acquired: 1996 4th Round Draft pick, 87th overall (4A).

Stats look: as of 1/9/98

12 5 5 10 — – injuried

Kurt Walsh was MIA for quite some time. He was assigned to
Rochester following training camp, but then he disappeared. It turns out he
wanted to return to the OHL. However, Owen Sound already has their two
overage junior players. So he had to wait until another team picked him up.
In mid October, Kingston acquired Kurt. He played well for several weeks, but
he was injured in early December. Buffalo allowed him to return to junior hockey.

Kurt is a big, thick, and strong kid. Like many Sabre prospects, he is only
an average skater. Kurt though, much like Denis Hamel, is a hard working kid.
Willing to play tough and rough, fight in the corners and score the tough
goals. He has a professional future somewhere if he continues his past work
habits. Though he will never amount to any more than a third or forth line
player at best.

Weaknesses are many but nothing outrageous. He needs to pick up his skating
more, and he could use more discipline in his own end. Strengths include, his
size and toughness, plus his willingness to stand in front of the net and take

NHL Future: Longshot, but not out-of-the-question.