In order to replenish the Buffalo Sabres’ lack of organizational depth, general manager Jason Botterill and his scouting department needed to hit on some late round gems.
Will those prospects become diamonds in the rough? Only time will tell. In the meantime, here’s the skinny on each of the players the Sabres drafted on Saturday:
ERIC PORTILLO – Buffalo was missing their second round choice in this year’s draft after having traded it to the Carolina Hurricanes for Jeff Skinner last summer. The selection of Portillo with the 67th overall pick in the third round is intriguing because he wasn’t ranked by NHL Central Scouting, but he dominated Sweden’s under-20 junior league with a 1.99 GAA and a .931 save percentage for Frolunda.
The 6’6” Portillo’s USHL rights are held by the Dubuque Fighting Saints and has committed to play at the University of Michigan in 2020.
AARON HUGLEN – Botterill sent the 122nd overall pick and the 175th pick to the Vancouver Canucks for the 102nd slot in the fourth round. With it, he selected Aaron Huglen, a right winger out of Roseau High School in Minnesota for whom he notched 52 points in 24 games. The speedy Huglen also recorded 14 points in 28 games for the USHL’s Fargo Force.
Huglen scored a highlight reel goal for the United States at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup last summer. He will play one more year for the Force before heading to the University of Minnesota, where he will be teammates with fellow draft classmate Ryan Johnson.
FILIP CEDERQVIST – For the second time on Saturday Botterill traded up in the draft, this time sending the 177th and 191st picks to the Detroit Red Wings for the 143rd selection in the fifth round. With it he took Filip Cederqvist, a left winger from the Vaxjo Lakers of the Swedish Hockey League.
Cederqvist had 32 points in 26 games with the Lakers’ junior team while compiling eight points in 33 games with their parent club. He will be teammates with 2017 second round pick Marcus Davidsson next year with Vaxjo.
LUKAS ROUSEK – With their final pick, the Sabres took left winger Lukas Rousek 160th overall in the sixth round. Rousek had been eligible for the NHL Draft twice before, but was passed over each time before finally latching on with Buffalo.
Rousek played most of last season with HC Sparta Praha of the Czech League while putting up nine points in 34 games. He has been described a fast, energetic playmaker with good hands who can play on the penalty kill.