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This would be the barren wasteland of positions for the Sabres with regard to their prospects, their depth, and their current LW's with the big club are nothing fantastic either.

Overall, the LW position for the Sabres consists of two solid but unspectacular ancillary players at the NHL level, two hopeful prospects whose top end may only be in bottom 6 roles, a total wildcard, a player that has already made his mark as the 4th line LW at the NHL level, and an AHL point producer who is yet to show any of that at the NHL level. Yes, they currently have one top 6 LW, but by the time the team is ready to compete, that player will be best served in a bottom 6 role. The Sabres badly need help at the LW position, whether by trade, the draft, or both.

The rankings are based on high end potential and not as much how likely they are to reach that potential.

1. Matt Moulson
2. Marcus Foligno
3. Brendan Lemieux
4. William Carrier
5. Nicolas Deslauriers
6. Johan Larsson
7. Gustav Possler
8. Max Willman
9. Brad Navin
10. Jordan Samuels-Thomas
11. Eric Locke
12. Daniel Catenacci

Samuels-Thomas and Catenacci, at least to this point, both look like AHL players for totally different reasons. Catenacci due to his diminutive size (despite his willingness to play physical and do so well) and Samuels-Thomas due to his lack of productivity at the AHL level, thought he was worth the try at little cost.

Brad Navin is not scoring at the College level and Eric Locke may be a FA.

Max Willman looks to be a depth forward if he makes it to the NHL.

Gustav Possler is a total wild card that looked much more promising prior the injury that ended his season last year. So far this year, he is playing solidly but not at the same level he was last year. He's not taken a backwards step so much as it's been a lateral move. He does still have time to get back on track at his young age. He could be a total surprise or somebody you never hear from again.

Johan Larsson will be at his most effective at either LW or RW, and with a yawning need for LW, this is where his chance lay. One major problem with that: his ceiling is that of a 3rd line LW and if/when the team is ready to compete for real, you would ideally have both Moulson and Foligno playing down a line, which means he would be moved to the 4th line, and so far, I'd rather have Nicolas Deslauriers playing that 4th line LW spot as he has proven his worth over the course of the current season. Johan Larsson, based on numbers, might be nothing more than a depth winger for the team unless his progress hits another gear. He has been near a point per game player at the AHL level the past 2 years, which is often forgotten, which means he does deserve his chance at the NHL level. Note that his 32 games of NHL action so far have not been much.

William Carrier and Brendan Lemieux are the teams best young hopes for LW. Carrier is a big young man currently learning the pro game at a young age in the AHL. His production thus far is not much, but he can be forgiven for that due to his age. He can be a contributing, space creating LW for talented linemates who will have extra room due to his play. Brendan Lemiuex plays just like his father, reveling in driving others insane on the ice, but he's not just a one trick pony as he is solid on defense in his own end and he has offensive talent. If he can focus as much on the offensive side of his game as he does at being a pest, he can be a difference maker, which he better be as the Sabres took him over Ivan Barbashev, who looks to be a steal for the Blues a mere 2 picks later in the draft.

As touched on earlier, the combination of Moulson and Foligno are currently taking up residence as the top 2 LW for the Sabres. Down the road, they are best served as the LW on lines 2 and 3 behind a true goal scorer, gamebreaker, or power forward. A player that is all three would be solid gold.
Filed Under:   Buffalo Sabres  
December 16, 2014 5:31 PM ET | Delete
Nice job Kong
December 17, 2014 2:19 PM ET | Delete
Thank you Cabin. LW has a gaping hole in it in terms of talent.
December 17, 2014 10:16 PM ET | Delete
I like the series; excited to read more!
December 17, 2014 10:17 PM ET | Delete
I like Lemieux, but passing up Barbashev broke my heart during the draft.
December 18, 2014 1:07 PM ET | Delete
Nice read (reid)
December 19, 2014 11:43 PM ET | Delete
kong your on top of your game..maybe sabres take crouse,bittner.or rantanin.after ther move up and trade 20 and 25 to move up...i see ? zacha.,crouse.,and ahl..mov,n too buffalo
January 5, 2015 4:13 PM ET | Delete
It looks like the goal is to stock pile as many picks as possible for the 2015 draft to use as trade chips along with either current NHL players or prospect to get that impact forward they so badly need.
January 13, 2015 5:36 PM ET | Delete
We do have a bunch of crappy left wingers...
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