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Buffalo Sabres Day Two

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(Pictured above is Adam Kieber)

By Warren Kozireski —

The second day of the 2024 NHL Entry Draft in Las Vegas began with Buffalo trading one of their two second round selections to the Washington Capitals for 6’3”, 200 lb. left wing Beck Malenstyn.

The former WHL product spent the entire season in the NHL in 2023-24 for the first time since turning pro and scored six goals with 15 assists over 81 games.

“He’s big (6’3”), led their team in hits, penalty killer as well, character guy…and we’ve been looking at ways…to be harder to play against and he’s certainly something who brings that every night and it was a big need that we saw coming into this offseason,” Sabres General Manager Kevyn Adams said.

The Sabres opened their draft selections taking 6’5”, 214 lb. right shot defenseman Adam Kleber with the 42nd overall pick. Heading for the University of Minnesota-Duluth this fall, Kleber spent the last two seasons with Lincoln in the USHL registering 26 points over 56 games.

“I think I’m really good defensive defenseman and I’m just trying to become more of a complete player,” Kleber said. “At Duluth they breed a lot of defensemen and they’re very good at developing those guys and I think Coach (Scott) Sandelin has a really tight structure and they make sure guys don’t cheat the defensive side. Hopefully, I can have the role of defending the other team’s top players.”

“Obviously a big kid, skates well, I think has a good brain for the game; the character of this kid is just as much a part of the story as anything else…forced his way onto the US team at the World Junior A Challenge, was the youngest d-man on that team and started as the seventh d-man and, by the end of the tournament was their best player,” Sabres Assistant General Manager Jerry Forton said.

In the third round, U.S. National Team Development Program forward Brody Ziemer was taken 71st overall. The 5’11”, 196 lb. right wing combined for 35 goals and 59 assists in 88 games and added 12 points in seven games at the U-18’s. He is headed to play for the University of Minnesota this fall.

(Brody Ziemer)

“This is kind of a dream growing up as a kid and for it to become real is super-special for me and my family,” Ziemer said. “I’d say my hockey sense (is a strength); I’m still trying to become a better skater and my hockey sense allows me to play a little bit faster than I really am.”

The Sabres had two fourth round selections at 108th and 123rd overall and took USHL defenseman Luke Osburn and QMJHL Drummondville right shot defenseman Simon-Pier Brunet.

Osburn stands 6’0” and 172 lbs. and is committed to the University of Wisconsin in 2026. The Michigan native racked up eight goals and 23 points over 60 games last season with Youngstown.

(Luke Osburn)

When I was younger, I was a lot smaller, so I had to figure out ways to be a little slipperier and then I grew a little bit,” Osburn said. “I’m going to go back to Youngstown and finish my senior year of high school…and figure it out from there.”

Brunet stands 6’2”, 196 lb. and is more defensive minded with 14 points in 52 games and added six more during a long playoff run.

In the sixth round, the team selected local product Patrick Geary from Hamburg, NY. The 19-year-old was passed over at the draft last season, but had a solid freshman season at Michigan State with 13 points in 32 games playing a shutdown role at a solid 6’1”, 185 lb.

“Great story; another high-compete player…forced his way into the lineup at Michigan State last year,” Forton said. “We brought into our mini-combine…we ran him through the same tests as the NHL uses at the Combine and he would have tested out in the top three percentile of all athletes at the Combine and top-five of our NHL players.”

With their two seventh round selections, Buffalo took Russian 6’0”, 181 lb. right wing Vasily Zelenov 204th overall and 6’2”, 179 lb. Mississauga goaltender Ryerson Leenders 219th.

(Ryerson Leenders)

Zelenov has been playing in Austria over the last five years and cracked the professional Red Bull Hockey Juniors team, where he put up 14 goals and 23 assists for 37 points in 40 games.

Leenders had a 24-17-4 record, a 3.12 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage in 46 games.

“It was a long wait I guess, but it was definitely worth it to be drafted to Buffalo,” Leenders said. “You always hope you go sooner, but definitely proud of myself and excited to be a part of Buffalo. Going to do everything I can to show Buffalo what I’m made of and do right for them.”

(Photos by Koz, NY Hockey OnLine)