Mittelstadt and Guhle lead the way as young Sabres

A look at what's in the pipeline

Paul Hamilton
January 24, 2018 - 3:35 pm

Photo: David Banks - USA TODAY Sports

(WGR 550) - With the team wrapping up its road trip in Vancouver and the All-Star break coming up, I thought it would be a good time to look at the future of the Buffalo Sabres.

Before I head down to Rochester, let’s see how last June’s first round pick is doing. Casey Mittelstadt was the class of the World Junior Tournament for Team USA. He had eleven points in seven games. The 19-year-old has seven goals and 13 assists for 20 points playing his freshman season at Minnesota.

Let’s continue with the Rochester Americans. Their leading scorer signed last March as a free agent from UMass-Lowell. C.J. Smith has 14 goals and 23 assists for 37 points in 43 games. He played two games in Buffalo last season and had one assist. Smith just turned 23, and will play in the AHL All-Star Game.

Brendan Guhle was with Buffalo for two games recently and had one assist. Guhle was taken in the seconnd round of the 2015 NHL Draft after Jack Eichel was selected second overall. The 20-year-old is in his first pro season and has seven goals and 14 assists for 21 points. Guhle said he’s really learning a lot about playing defense in professional hockey.

Hudson Fasching is 22-years-old and was acquired from Los Angeles in March of 2014. He’s played five games in Buffalo this season and was pointless. In Rochester, he has seven goals and nine assists for 16 points in 36 games.

Eric Cornel was a second round pick in 2014 and has not really shown much during his two years in Rochester. The 21-year-old has four goals and three assists for seven points in 33 games.

Sean Malone is a rookie in the AHL this season. The Western New York native had a great senior season at Harvard, but the 22-year-old has four goals and three assists in 40 games with the Amerks. Malone was taken by the Sabres in the sixth round of the 2013 draft.

Buffalo's first round pick in 2016, Alex Nylander, is again struggling mightily in the AHL. The 19-year-old is playing in a man’s league and has only been able to produce two goals and four assists for six points in 21 games. He played for Team Sweden in this year’s World Junior Tournament, picking up a goal and six assists in seven games.  

Another Western New York native, Justin Bailey has been hurt for most of this season. He’s only played eleven games in Rochester, netting two goals and one assist for three points. In Buffalo, the 2013 second round pick had two goals and one assist in seven games. Bailey is 22.

Linus Ullmark is 24-years-old, and was taken by Buffalo in the sixth round of the 2012 NHL Draft. Ullmark has made the AHL All-Star Game in the past two years he’s played in Rochester. This season, he’s 17-6-3 with a 2.35 goals against and .926 save percentage. He’s played one game in Buffalo and beat Columbus 3-1 stopping 44 pucks.

Devante Stephens is a 21-year-old defenseman who has played four games in Rochester and 28 games in Cincinnati. The Sabres' fifth round pick in 2015 had no points with the Amerks and has eight assists with the Cyclones.

Vaclav Karabacek was a second round pick in 2014. In one game in Rochester, he was scoreless and in seven games with Cincinnati, he has one assist. Karabacek is 21.

Brycen Martin is a defenseman taken in the third round of the 2014 NHL Draft. He was scoreless in his one game with Rochester and has a goal and six assists for seven points with the Cyclones. Martin is 21-years-old.

Goaltender Jonas Johansson is 22 years-old and was taken in the third round of the 2014 NHL Draft. With Cincinnati he’s 7-6-0 with a 3.16 goals against and .904 save percentage.

Jason Kasdorf was acquired in 2015 as part of the Evander Kane trade. The 25-year-old is 5-5-0 with the Cyclones with a 2.93 goals against and .891 save percentage.

Will Borgen has made Team USA for the upcoming Olympics. The 2015, fourth round pick plays a ton for St. Cloud State on defense. The 21-year-old has one goal and nine assists for 10 points in 22 games, but he’s projected to be a guy that can play in the NHL.

Let’s go back to the 2012 draft and move up. Judd Peterson is a senior at St. Cloud State, taken in the seventh round. The 24-year-old winger has three goals and nine assists for 12 points in 22 games.

One of Buffalo’s second round picks in 2013 was Connor Hurley. The center played three years at Notre Dame and then transferred to Minnesota. He’s sitting out this season and will have one more year of eligibility next year. In his junior season with the Fighting Irish, the 22-year-old had 4 goals and 12 assists for 16 points in 21 games.

Max Willman is a senior at Brown. He was taken in the fifth round of the 2014 draft. The 22-year-old has one goal and four assists for five points in nine games.

Chris Brown is a junior at Boston College. The 2014, sixth rounder has six goals and seven assists for 13 points in 24 games. Brown is 21-years-old.

Victor Olofsson is playing for Frolunda HC in Sweden. The 22-year-old winger was Buffalo’s seventh round pick in 2014 and has 21 goals and 12 assists for 33 points in 36 games. Olofsson is currently tied for the lead in goal scoring in the Swedish Hockey League.

Ivan Chukarov is playing his senior year at UMass-Amherst. He was Buffalo’s seventh round pick in 2015 and has five assists in 16 games. He’s 22.

Buffalo’s second round pick in 2016 was Rasmus Asplund. The 20-year-old has six goals and 19 assists for 25 points in 37 games with Farjestads BK in Sweden.

Cliff Pu had a nice training camp this year before going back to junior. The third round pick has 20 goals and 33 assists for 53 points with both London and Kingston of the OHL. Pu is only 19-years-old.

Casey Fitzgerald is playing defense in his junior year for Boston College. The 20-year-old was taken in the third round of the 2016 draft. He has four goals and nine assists for 13 points in 23 games.

Brett Murray is a junior at Penn State. The winger was taken in the fourth round and has one goal and four assists for five points in 17 games.

The Sabres had two fifth round picks and took Philip Nyberg and Vojtech Budik. Nyberg is a junior at UConn and has two goals and an assist for three points in 15 games.

Budik is also a defenseman playing in the WHL with Prince Albert. He has 40 games in and has seven goals and 13 assists for 20 points.

Brandon Hagel went in the sixth round and is also in the WHL with Red Deer. He has seven goals and 18 assists for 25 points in 32 games.

Western New York’s Austin Osmanski went in the seventh round. The defenseman has played 43 games with Peterborough and Mississauga scoring one goal and 12 assists for 13 points.

Vasili Glotov also went in the seventh round and has 23 goals and 32 points in 41 games for Shawinigan of the Quebec Majoer Junior Hockey League.

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen played for Finland in the World Junior Tournament. In five games he had a 3.13 goals against and .879 save percentage. This season, he’s playing with Leki in Finland. The second round pick from last June has a 2.70 goals against and .915 save percentage.

Marcus Davidsson joined Nylander in Team Sweden and had three points in seven games. The center is also playing for Djurgardens IF in Sweden. He has five goals and eight assists for 13 points in 27 games.

Oskari Laaksonen is a defenseman for Ilves-Tampere in Finland. He has one assist in seven games.

Jacob Bryson was taken in the fourth round and is a sophomore at Providence. The defenseman has one goal and 18 assists for 19 points in 26 games.

Linus Weissback is a freshman at Wisconsin. He has seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points in 24 games. Buffalo took him in the seventh round.

I think we all know that Guhle is going to be a good NHL defenseman. We’ll need to see if Smith’s skills can transfer to the NHL. I have been hearing good thinks about Borgen for over a year and Fitzgerald is spoken well of too.

Kris Baker has liked Asplund since they drafted him and Pu is a great skater who they liked in camp.

I wouldn’t be shocked if Ullmark winds up being Buffalo’s goalie and of course Mittelstadt has a lot of skill. The question is should he play one more season at Minnesota? 

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