Sabres' Jankowski knows they'll get a good player at No. 7

Buffalo's director of amateur scouting was with Howard and Jeremy on Monday

Paul Hamilton
June 17, 2019 - 11:01 am

Photo courtesy of @TheInstigators

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - This is the week for Rasmus Dahlin and the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on Wednesday, and the NHL Draft in Vancouver on Friday and Saturday. The Sabres' director of amateur scouting Ryan Jankowski joined Howard and Jeremy on Monday. This is his time of year as he pretty much runs the draft at the table.

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Buffalo has the seventh overall pick and he said, “It’s impossible to know how it’s all going to shake out. All we can do is get our list into the best order that we can, I think we all know who’s going to go one and two, but the fun starts at three for us, so we may get the player that’s third on our list or we may get the player that’s seventh on our list, so we have to be prepared for everything.”

There are always surprises at the top of the draft. Nobody thought Casey Mittelstadt would get to the Sabres at No. 8, but he did and Buffalo was elated. Jankowski said they like to get an idea where teams are headed before the draft, “You’ve got some feelers out there, we kind of think Chicago might not draft a defenseman because they’ve drafted a defenseman in the last two or three drafts in the first round, but we don’t know what they’re going to do, so we want to focus on our list and we want to focus on what we need to do, for us to worry about the other teams doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”

The top-two players in this year’s draft, Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, are projected to make the NHL this season, but none of the other players are. Despite that, it’s considered a deep draft and Jankowski is confident they’ll get a nice player, “We’re going to get a good player at seven, we’re going to get a player we like a lot. We’re going to have a player that’s going to have an impact in the organization down the road.

“The way we’ve looked at it is three to 10 is somewhat of a grouping, so the player that gets selected at 10 in eight years might be as good as the player selected three and that’s where the fun part starts after one and two is that any player could go in any order.”

Buffalo also has the Blues' first round pick from the Ryan O’Reilly trade. Jankowski is hoping they’ll be surprised when No. 31 rolls around, “There’s a lot more variance when you’re at 31 as opposed to seven and we think we’ll get a player that will help the organization and we’re keeping our fingers crossed because there a certain few players that might be there that we perceive to be better than the others.”

People hate to hear teams say they’ll draft the best player available. Jankowski confirmed the Sabres will do just that, “Yes it is because we don’t know when this player is going to have an impact and our team may be completely different from the work Jason Botterill does three years from now, but if we’re in a situation where we think two players are equal, we’ll look to see what’s the most value to an organization, but that rarely happens.”

We got a little scouting report on four of the prospects that could be available at No. 7:


Cole Caufield: “What he did this year and even the last two years was exceptional. We’ve never seen a goal scorer score like that NTDP level let alone a player that would be five-foot-six or five-foot-seven, so he’s got a special skillset and his story is what makes him so likeable as well as his personality and you can tell he loves scoring goals.”

Kirby Dach: “Kirby’s the prototypical power centermen from Western Canada. He has a really nice skillset and has a lot of potential.”

Dylan Cozens: “Dylan Cozens is a good 200-foot player with a good skillset. He’s tall and lanky, he’s a very good skater played very well for Canada at the Under-18 World Championships, had a good year in Lethbridge and is going to be a good NHL player.”

Vasili Podkolzin currently is under contract with SKA Saint Petersburg where he played three games last season. Jankowski said, “Vasili’s a great player, we’ve met with him a couple of times, I met with him in Russia and we met with him at the NHL Combine and he’s got a really unique personality, loves the game. We think because of his passion and how much he loves the game, the contractual situation is not that important. But you always have to look at the Russian situation and make sure you do the due diligence on what the contract is, who it’s with.”


Our draft coverage Friday night starts at 7:00. Brayton Wilson and Joe DiBiase will be in studio, while I’ll be in Vancouver.

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You can listen to the entire interview below:

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