The Buffalo Sabres appear to have cast their net wide during NHL Draft Combine week, preparing for the 13th overall pick by interviewing most of the prospects projected to go in the first round.
🇨🇦 HAVE YOURSELF A GAME, WOOD.
Matthew Wood completes the hat trick against Czechia! pic.twitter.com/W03U2DpSq8
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) April 25, 2023
A couple of mock drafts have the Sabres selecting University of Connecticut forward Matthew Wood. Wood scored 34 points (11 goals, 23 assists) as the youngest player in college hockey this season and seven goals in seven games for Canada at the IIHF Under-18 World Championships. NHL Scouting Director Dan Marr compared the 18-year-old forward to Buffalo’s leading scorer Tage Thompson.
“We just started to see a lot of similarities to Tage, that bigger guy (who) might take a little longer to get to his true top form, but the package is there and the player is there,” Marr said. “(Wood was) one of the youngest players playing in the NCAA. Our scouts cycled through to watch Connecticut play, and he was just getting better by the game. What you could see was how he adapted to the level that he was playing, how he adapted his foot speed to keep his feet moving. His skating habits changed considerably over the course of the season to where he was maybe watching a little bit and gliding rather than maintaining stride. That changed over the course of the season. And then the more it changed, the more his true game came into focus.”
Local Prospects On The Radar
Another possibility for Buffalo is winger Quentin Musty, a 17-year-old who scored 78 points (26 goals, 52 assists) in his second season for the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves who is from Hamburg, NY. Another local product in the draft, Boston University freshman defenseman Gavin McCarthy, has competed against Musty and knows him well.
“I’ve competed against Musty since I was 10. I’ve got to know him on and off the ice and have kind of battled with him in practice over the years. We’ve had our fair share of battles,” McCarthy said. “I’ve got to know him pretty well and how he plays. He’s super talented and will go high in the draft for a reason.”
Hamburg’s Quentin Musty, on how his offensive game grew this season in Sudbury. pic.twitter.com/e3cNUpw0lw
— Mike Harrington (@ByMHarrington) June 10, 2023
Sabres GM Kevyn Adams could go in a number of different directions with the 13th pick, but with this crop particularly thin on the blueline, it is likely that Buffalo will be adding a forward in Nashville at the end of the month.