By Warren Kozireski —
Buffalo walked into Day Two of the 2021HLEntry Draft with nine picks including the first selection of the second round and began by selecting Russian Prokhor Poltapov.
The 6’0”, 176 lb. right wing scored a combined27 goals and 59 points in 68 games with Krasnaya juniors and for Team Russia at the World Under-18 tournament.
“He’s the type of guy who is good enough offensively to play any kind of offensive role, but he also does the other things that offensive guys don’t want to do,” one scout said in The Hockey News Draft Preview.
With their other second round pick acquired from Boston, the Sabres selected left wing Alexander Kisakov from Dynamo Moscow where he quadrupled his point total and finished second on the league scoring 36 goals with 37 assists in 61 games. Slight build at 5’10” and 150 lb.
“Each (Poltapov and Kisakov) plays in their premiere organization in Russia,” Sabres Director of Amateur Scouting Jerry Forton said. “There was an emphasis in our organization over the last year and a half to deeply look at some of the Russian and Czech Republic players. We have a great scout and we did a lot of video and date analysis of these players as well.”
In the third round 88th overall, Buffalo chose Poltapov teammate right wing Stiven Sardarian from Russia. The 6’1” 154 lb. left shot totaled a combined 58 points in 58 games this past season. He is committed to play at the University of New Hampshire in 2022-23 and the plan is for him to play in the USHL with Youngstown this fall.
95th overall to end the third round, the Sabres grabbed 6’2”, 183 lb. left wing Josh Bloom from Saginaw in the Ontario Hockey League. He had a knack for scoring in lower junior hockey, but has struggled to find points of late with a combined 16 points in 59 games in 2019-20. He did not play last season.
“It was a really weird year…but fortunately I heard my name called and I’m thrilled that it was Buffalo,” Bloom said. “We were sitting in my living room and didn’t get the call like we thought we would, but saw my name on the screen and jumped up and got a
To begin the fourth round, the Sabres went with left wing Oliver Nadeau from Shawinigan of the Quebec Major Junior League. 6’2” and 205 lb. already, he registered 32 assists (tied for sixth in the league) and 45 points in 34 games last season.
“I think I’m a power forward and work both ends of the ice and bring energy to my game,” Nadeau said.
159th overall late in the fifth round in a pick acquired from Montreal, the Sabres selected Finnish 5’11”, 154 lb. left wing Viljami Marjala, who came over the play in the Quebec Major Junior League with the Quebec Remparts last season where he put up 22 assists and 27 points in 30 games.
“It was harder; I didn’t have much time there and it was physical,” Marjala said. “I see myself as a two-way forward that can play either center or winger. I was watching TV with my family and saw my name come up—it’s an incredible feeling.”
Two picks later to start the sixth round, Swedish winger William von Barnekow was the selection. 6’4”, 191 lbs., he had his best offensive season last year with 22 points in 26 games on loan to Tyringe. He is expected to rejoin Malmo this fall.
188th overall in the sixth round, Buffalo went with 23-year-old Russian defenseman Nikita Novikov, who played in the Czech Republic this past season. Standing 6’0”, 176 lb., he has only played a combined 14 games over the past two seasons.
They started the seventh round by selecting center Tyson Kozak via Portland in the WHL. 5’11”, 173 lb., the Manitoba native had 11 points in the abbreviated 18 game season.
“We did not go into this draft thinking we were going to select five Russians, Forton said. “But we did have a very strong comfort level with a lot of the Russians players on our list. They have all played a lot of hockey over the last two seasons, we had great video and analytic data.
“I had a pretty good idea that we had a couple of these Russians a little higher than other organizations, so I had a decent idea that a couple might that way…but we’re very happy with the players we got.”
(Buffalo Sabres Draft Photo)