With the NHL Draft starting on June 23rd its time to look at players that the Buffalo Sabres could target with the eighth overall selection.
Cale Makar, D, 5’11”, 179 lbs, DOB 10-30-1999
Makar , from the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s (AJHL) Brooks Bandits, is the most appealing prospect at the eighth pick. Makar, 18, is a smaller right-handed defenseman but he tore up the AJHL for the two seasons that he was there.
Makar played 111 career AJHL season games totalling 35 goals and 100 assists for 135 points, and added nine goals, 28 assists for 37 points in 46 career playoff games. Makar is also one of the most decorated players in AJHL history, winning numerous awards throughout his junior career.
In the 2015-16 season Makar won the AJHL and CJHL Rookie of the Year awards, in 2016-17 he won the AJHL Most Outstanding Defenseman award, the AJHL MVP and the AJHL Playoff MVP. Makar also became the first player in CJHL history to win back-to-back RBC Cup MVP and Best Defenceman awards capturing the awards in 2015-16 and 2016-17.
Why Should Buffalo Target Makar?
Makar is a highly skilled offensive defenseman, his numbers speak for themselves but when you watch this kid play you can see how electrifying he actually is. He can quarterback a powerplay and provide a huge spark from the back end due to his excellent skating, vision and passing capabilities. He is such a highly touted D prospect, and his rise up the ranks this year was meteoric.
Makar’s skill set has TSN’s Craig Button raving about him, drawing comparisons to one of the NHL’s top defensemen.
On tsn.ca (http://www.tsn.ca/craig-s-list-patrick-remains-in-the-top-spot-despite-injury-1.646868) Button compares Makar to a young Erik Karlsson, “His style of play and approach to the game reminds me of Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson. Like Karlsson at the same age, he is still growing, but his skill set is unique. Makar is a player many NHL teams may be hoping slides in the draft, but he’s too good to end up very far down the board.”
Makar fills a glaring need for the Sabres who are desperate to add to their weak blueline. Makar would easily become one of the top D prospects in the organization if Buffalo drafts him.
The Sabres have the luxury of allowing him to develop at UMass Amherst in the NCAA then in Rochester before inserting him into the Sabres’ lineup. He has a very high upside and would be well worth the wait.
The other reason Makar makes sense at eighth is that the Sabres could be taking the best player available approach to this year’s draft, if Makar is on the board he would easily be the best player available (he is considered a top five pick by a lot of scouts).
Would you be happy if Makar was drafted by the Sabres with the eighth overall pick? Send us feedback on twitter @SabresFanatics and to me @austin_broad.
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*all stats and info for this article provided by eliteprospects.com, futureconsiderations.ca and tsn.ca