Four mid-round targets for Sabres in 2024 NHL Draft



Ahead of the 2024 NHL Draft, there will be plenty of speculation about what the Buffalo Sabres will do in the first round. While that will garner a lot of attention, the middle rounds of the draft offer a chance to unearth hidden gems.

The Sabres have a pick in the third round and a pair in the fourth round (no pick in the fifth). What prospects could be there and what might they offer to the Sabres? Here are a few talents in the middle of the draft that the Sabres should be watching.

Types of Prospects to Look for in the Middle Rounds

When you get into the third round of the draft and beyond, things become a bit more open. They might have a clearer picture of who will be there and what to do with their first-round pick, but the later rounds can have a domino effect. One player goes off the board and it changes the entire outlook of the draft.

The Sabres have the option to pick the best player available in each round rather than reaching for need. Size and mobility on the back end are always welcome. Offensive creativity doesn’t grow on trees and even diminutive players who show that kind of ability should be considered.

Ondrej Becher – C, Prince George Cougars (WHL, Projected 3rd Round)

Ondrej Becher is one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft. A third-year eligible prospect, he hasn’t been picked in the last two seasons. At 20 years old, he is one of the older prospects out there, but his floor may be a bit higher because of it.

He is a smart offensive player but plays a complete game. He makes good use of his stick and projects as a potentially dominant third-line defensive center. He’s projected as high as the top 50 by some and is currently ranked 69th according to the NHL Draft rankings.

Because of his age, Becher may be more NHL-ready than any other mid-round prospect. He’s shown good offensive ability at the junior level, but it is clear that he can be a defensive force at the next level. Someone is going to get a good find in the middle rounds and the Sabres could desperately use a top-level defensive forward.

Jared Woolley – D, London Knights (OHL, Projected Round 3-4)

Every team in the NHL would love to add size on the back end, especially after the defensive unit the Vegas Golden Knights used to earn a Stanley Cup. Jared Woolley checks that box easily, coming in at 6-foot-4 and 214 pounds. He is a left-handed defenseman, but that shouldn’t trump the player.

Woolley is young and has played limited minutes because of the depth and talent that the London Knights possess. He does have very good size and reach, which helps him take space away from opposing forwards. He might not be the most fleet of foot but moves the puck out of his zone well.

While Woolley’s offensive potential is a bit unknown, he projects as a good defensive defenseman. The Sabres would be looking to get a big, poise defenseman who uses his reach well and can add to an already big frame. Given the defensive group (both players and prospects) the Sabres have, Woolley would have a chance to develop his game for quite some time before reaching the NHL.

Jan Golicic – D, Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL, Projected Round 4-5)

Jan Golicic is another hulking defenseman, coming in at 6-foot-6 and 198 pounds. He’s got the kind of frame that could add 20 pounds of muscle without really compromising his skating ability. At just 17 years old, he is raw, but it is clear why he has landed right around the top 100 area.

For a guy his size, his offensive instincts are enticing. He has a big shot and is a solid skater for his frame. Golicic has great reach, which he uses to stifle rushes as they enter the defensive zone. He had an outstanding World Juniors for Slovenia, registering the most goals and assists among defensemen in Group B.

Like Woolley, Golicic needs time to fill out and develop. He has shown promise in his lone season with the Gatineau Olympiques so far. A project in every sense, he has the size and mobility to be worth taking in the fourth round.

Vincent Desjardins – C/W, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL, Projected Round 4-5)

Sticking with the Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), Vincent Desjardins is the polar opposite of Woolley and Golicic. At 5-foot-11, 165 pounds, he is diminutive but has the kind of offensive instincts that make him an interesting player in the middle rounds of the draft.

In his first full season with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, Desjardins registered 47 points in 68 games. While that doesn’t sound impressive, he’s not picking up big minutes because of his age/experience. The 2024-25 QMJHL season will be the one to watch to see how he develops.

Desjardins is considered a reliable two-way center who is very good in the faceoff circle (something the Sabres desperately need). He’s a strong skater and has very good puck skills. At the next level, he could be a solid bottom-six center, potentially used on important faceoffs. His size will be his biggest question mark but this is the new NHL where traditionally smaller players thrive.

Final Thoughts

Picking useful players in the middle of the draft is just as tough as getting the first-round pick right. Adding a player that not only fits a need but is one of the best players around, that pick should be what the Sabres go for. With so many talented prospects in the pool, they can also afford to get a bit creative and even reach once or twice.

Related Posts

The Changing Dynamics of the Toronto Maple Leafs Forwards

The Toronto Maple Leafs have evolved significantly since winning the Draft Lottery in 2016 and selecting Auston Matthews as the first overall pick. Starting the 2016-17 season, the team built its…

2024 Cubs Heroes and Goats: Game 53

Paul Goldschmidt has been destroying the hopes and dreams of opposing teams since 2012 when he played his first full season in the big leagues. He has…

Colts eager to see new offense come together – ESPN

INDIANAPOLIS — On a first-and-10 from the Colts’ own 25-yard line, quarterback Anthony Richardson took a shotgun snap and quickly tossed the ball to running back Jonathan Taylor on a…

2 moves Sabres must make in 2024 NHL offseason

The Buffalo Sabres had high expectations heading into the 2023-24 NHL season. Buffalo missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs by just one point in 2023. They had a wealth of…

NFL analyst suggests final offseason move Indianapolis Colts should make

As the Indianapolis Colts continue into the heart of the offseason workout program, there are still chances to add more talent to the roster. Sitting with a comfortable amount of…

This Day In Sabres History – Flyers Win Cup In Buffalo

On this day 49 years ago, the Philadelphia Flyers won their second straight Stanley Cup, eliminating the Buffalo Sabres in six games with a 2-0 shutout victory at Memorial…