Buffalo Sabres 2019 NHL Draft Rankings: June Edition

ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - JUNE 03: National Hockey League prospect Jack Hughes speaks with the media at Enterprise Center on June 03, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - JUNE 03: National Hockey League prospect Jack Hughes speaks with the media at Enterprise Center on June 03, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
A general view of the selection board during the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

We talk a lot about players sticking in Junior A to play during their draft year. But the USHL has become a very reliable source for solid talent over the years.

Brink is a player that was a standout at Minnetonka High last year. Instead of staying to play in the Minnesota high school ranks, he opted to play this season for the Sioux City Musketeers, who selected him 16th overall in the 2017 USHL Futures Draft.

He finished the year fourth in league scoring with 68 points in 43 games.

"“A remarkable playmaker who has elite vision and high-end offensive sense, Brink sees the game at a high level. That alleviates some of the concerns about his skating.” – Chris Peters, ESPN"

There’s a real chance that Brink could go much higher than our ranking. He’s headed to one of the top programs in the nation in Denver next season, so he’ll be able to play against top opponents during his college career.

NHL Draft
Brett Leason #20 of Canada is hooked by Vitali Kravtsov #14 of Russia in Group A hockey action of the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images) /

An overager being ranked with a first-round grade is one thing. An overager that has been passed over twice being ranked in the first round is an even more impressive feat, but that’s just how good Leason has been this year.

89 points in 55 games in the WHL regular season, 25 points in 22 games in the playoffs, and five points in as many games during the World Juniors.

"“Consistently in position to produce offence. Once his workouts become hockey-centric, there’s no predicting his ceiling.” – Sam Cosentino, Sportsnet"

Unlike many prospects, Leason could make the jump to the AHL this coming fall. He’ll need to work on foot speed at the pro level, but he’s a player that’s going to be more ahead of the curve due to his age.

On a London squad that was filled with older talent, McMichael was one of the most impressive forwards on the entire roster.

He finished the year as the team’s top scorer with 72 points in 67 games. He also finished with five points in 11 playoff games.

"“A crafty playmaker who also serves as a finisher because of his hands and shot, McMichael, stood out amongst the Knights’ loaded lineup of scorers.” – Steve Kournianos, Sporting News"

Never bet against a player that has been developed by the London Knights. They generally go on to have solid NHL careers, and McMichael should follow suit.

Poulin has been projected as a late first-rounder or early second-rounder depending on the rankings. Regardless of where he goes, he’ll be the fifth player from Sherbrooke to be taken in the NHL Draft.

The 18-year-old led the Phoenix in scoring this season with 29 goals and 76 points and then put up 14 points in 10 playoff contests.

"“Shoots and passes like a pro. Great skating ability allows him to transition well and consistently be a part of the rush.” – Sam Cosentino, Sportsnet"

He’s got the build (6-foot-2, 207 lbs) to be a very good, scoring power forward who can rip the puck from the perimeter.

Robertson is another riser in this draft after a successful campaign.

He managed to lead Peterborough in scoring this season with 55 points in 54 games. He only managed a pair of points in five playoff games, but he’ll be able to come back next season with a chance to light it up as one of, if not the main offensive threat for the Petes.

"“A great skater who blends quick acceleration with quick edges. Owns high-end puck skills, vision, and a developing release. One of the youngest players in the crop.” – Cam Robinson, Dobber Prospects"

A team that just missed out on a Stanley Cup will likely have the chance to pick up Robertson a the back end of the first round. He’ll have the chance to prove teams wrong for passing up on him with earlier picks.

Pelletier is another example of a player that went out and was a top scorer on his CHL team. He finished second on the Wildcats this season with 39 goals and 89 points in 65 contests.

His playoff and U-18 numbers weren’t as impressive as one might have liked, but that was due to an injury that he was battling through.

"“A quick, jittery forward who can apply pressure on opposing defenses with his skill, Pelletier put up big numbers in the QMJHL.” – Chris Peters, ESPN"

Pelletier has more success at finishing around the net than you’d think a 5-foot-9 forward would have. That will likely be different against more physically mature competition, but he’s also skilled at scoring outside of the crease, so that won’t be a problem.

How the Maple Leafs could look very different next season. dark. Next