Sabres’ Draft Targets with 13th Overall Pick

With the NHL Lottery behind us and the landing spot for generational prospect Connor Bedard all but a sure thing, the rest of the teams in the lottery will have about a month and a half to fill out their draft boards. It is now time for scouts and other members of the front office to buckle down and figure out which players fit their schemes and plans for the future.

Slotting in at pick number 13 is the Buffalo Sabres after a 91-point season, their best since 2010-11. Oddly enough that was the last season the Sabres made the playoffs. Although this year extended that playoff drought to 12 seasons, Buffalo is in a prime position for a playoff push next year after falling just one point short last year. Here’s a look at two prospects the Sabres could select at pick 13.

Quentin Musty (Left Wing), Sudbury Wolves (Ontario Hockey League): 53 Games Played, 26 Goals-52 Assists-78 Points

Quentin Musty comes in as the hometown kid and a great available option for the Sabres when they are on the clock. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound winger’s hometown is Hamburg, New York, just outside of Buffalo, and he played his youth hockey with the Buffalo Junior Sabres. Musty eventually joined the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) in 2021-22 as the first pick of the OHL draft and scored 31 points in 50 games on 12 goals and 19 assists while also recording 70 penalty minutes.

In his draft-eligible season, Musty more than doubled his goal-scoring output to 26 goals while proving himself as a talented playmaker for the Wolves with 52 assists for a grand total of 78 points in 53 games. Musty added four points in the four playoff games in a series sweep at the hands of the Peterborough Petes.

Quentin Musty Sudbury Wolves
Quentin Musty of the Sudbury Wolves is ranked as high as eleventh overall and as low as twenty-sixth in the 2023 NHL Draft Class. (Robert Lefebvre/OHL Images)

As a larger, more physical winger, Musty has no problem going into the dirty areas and using his size and strength to create plays for those around him. However, it often was not needed in Sudbury, and he was able to show off his creativity as a playmaker much more but looks to be more of a prototypical power forward in the NHL. Musty’s shot is also a strong part of his game, and his highlight reel from this past season shows glimpses of what his shot could grow into.

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One of the knocks on Musty is that he might not be the best skater in this draft class. However, as a power forward, he is going to play more of a downhill style of game anyways, so while his skating is a weaker part of his game, it could potentially be balanced out by his mixture of offensive abilities and the defensive responsibility by the Buffalo centers he could be playing with.

Colby Barlow (LW), Owen Sound Attack (OHL): 59 GP 46-33-79

Another OHL winger, Colby Barlow, has just the goal-scoring touch needed to complement Buffalo’s second-line center, Dylan Cozens. Barlow scored 46 goals this past season, which put him fifth in the entire league. In addition to his goal output, Barlow is also a solid penalty killer, making him a viable option to plug into any situation on the ice.

Barlow’s penalty kill and defensive ability sets him apart from other top goal-scoring prospects of the past. His ability to play a 200-foot game is one of the more attractive parts of his game, even if he is known for being a goal scorer.

The 2021 eighth overall pick in the OHL Draft was selected to Team Canada’s U18 IIHF World Championship Team in 2023 and recorded four points in six games with three goals and an assist. One of his goals opened the scoring in Canada’s Bronze Medal game win against Slovakia.

Colby Barlow, OHL, Owen Sound Attack
Colby Barlow of the Owen Sound Attack is rated anywhere between the eighth and thirty-eighth best available player in the 2023 NHL Draft. (Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images)

Barlow scored 30 goals in his first season with Owen Sound in 2021-22 and added 17 assists for a total of 47 points. In year two, he was named captain and led by example, as he was first in points on the team and boosted his totals across the board while playing in every situation.

The captain led Owen Sound back to the playoffs in 2022-23, but the London Knights swept them. However, Barlow recorded a hat-trick in a 5-4 Game 2 overtime loss. Though not the best skater, Barlow’s goal-scoring and defensive ability mixed with his size at 6-foot-1 and 187 pounds is what will keep him a viable player in an NHL lineup for years to come

While the Sabres really could go anywhere with pick number 13, these two players fit the need of a middle-six winger, and while this pick will not see NHL ice this season or next most likely, they could be key pieces down the line when the Sabres are potentially a contending team.

Buffalo could potentially trade this pick down to stockpile more picks in a draft that is one of the deepest classes in a long time if they choose. The uncertainty of the draft is the fun part, and after Connor Bedard is taken at one, then the real fun begins.

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