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Potential Sabres 2024 Draft Targets

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By Warren Kozireski —

The Buffalo Sabres as of this writing hold the 11th overall selection in the first round of the 2024 NHL Entry Draft to be held in Las Vegas June 28-29.

Whether they pick a forward of a defenseman could be dictated by what happens with the ten selections prior, but two name slotted by Central Scouting around that mark are USA National Team development Program product Cole Eiserman or Calgary (WHL) defenseman Carter Yakemchuk.

Eiserman is a 6’0”, 195 lb. left wing who broke Montreal Canadian Cole Caufield’s record of 126 goals. This past season he netted 49 goals in 49 games and added 27 assists. He won’t turn 18 years old until late August. He decommitted from the University of Minnesota and will play for Boston University.

“I think Cole Eiserman is the best goal-scorer of this draft; it’s an elite quality,” said Craig Button, TSN resident director of scouting, NHL analyst and former NHL general manager told The Hockey News.

When asked about his next best hockey trait, Eiserman said at the NHL Draft Combine “probably my playmaking. I think it’s a pretty underrated thing that I get to show because my teammates want me to shoot the puck all the time.

“You see a guy like (Auston) Matthews who scores a lot of goals, but now is being looked at as a Selke guy…and that’s the guy I’m trying to be like in the NHL one day.”

Eiserman is the latest hockey playing family member with older brothers William (UMass-Lowell & Bentley), Chris (goaltender for SUNY Fredonia 2013-15), Shane (U. New Hampshire and ECHL) along with some older cousins.

“They taught me to be more of a person and a man than a hockey player and they’re a lot older than me, so they went through life, and they went through good times and bad times and in between and taught me everything that I need to know and how to deal with adversity. And work—they didn’t have as much skill as I do, so they made it from working and that’s what they tell me to do.”

If Buffalo chooses to go defense in the first round, Yakemchuk is slotted at 11th among North American skaters by Central Scouting. The 6’3”, 202 lb. right shot led all WHL defenseman in scoring with 30 goals and 41 assists over 66 games for a mediocre Calgary team that missed the playoffs.

11 months older than Eiserman, he is the rare combination of offense while registering over 100 penalty minutes this past season.

“Yakemchuk can manipulate opponents, make plays with perfect timing, and create looks for his teammates with the threat of his shot every now and then. Constant rush activations and weak side sprints from the offensive blue line kept him involved in the play, creating a higher volume and better quality of looks than most defencemen can access.” -EliteProspects 2024 NHL Draft Guide

“I think my offensive creativity; that’s something I take a lot of pride in my game (and) is one of my strengths,” Yakemchuk said at the NHL Draft Combine. “I always play with a little grit in my game and that’s something I did that lot this season. I need to be better positionally with my stick (on defense). Always was a d-man, but I like watching hockey the offensive side and how the forwards played.”

If Buffalo chooses to keep their first-round pick, there are certainly several high-end options that will be available to them.

The Sabres have eight picks in the 2024 Draft, including two picks in the fourth round (Erik Johnson trade to Philadelphia) and two in the seventh round (Kyle Okposo trade to Florida which could become a fifth-round pick if the Florida Panthers win the Stanley Cup).