Even though the Sabres season is over, General Manager Tim Murray is working to improve his club right now. Buffalo is pursuing University of North Dakota free agent forward Drake Caggiula. He’s one of the top college free agents available and many teams are interested in bringing in Caggiula. The Sabres may have an inside track on the 21-year-old forward as the two have a relationship going back a few years.
Top College Free Agent
Caggiula just finished his senior season at the University of North Dakota by winning a National Championship. The Canadian born forward was named the Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player. Caggiula recorded two goals in the Frozen Four semi-finals game against Denver University and scored two more in the National Championship game against Quinnipiac. This season he put up 25 goals and 51 total points in 39 games for the Fighting Hawks. He recorded a point in 31 of the 39 games, including ending the season on a 13 game point streak.
Caggiula has high-end skill and speed that make him a very intriguing prospect around the NHL. He’s highly coveted around the league by many teams. Vancouver, Ottawa, Chicago and now Buffalo are a few teams that have been connected to the North Dakota forward. Caggiula plans to take a least a month before making a decision. He said he wants to take the time to enjoy the National Championship title. He’ll have the opportunity to sit back and pick the team he thinks is the best fit.
OTT and VAN are among top contenders, but now that he can't "burn" a year, a few sources expect CHI (& others) to be a major pursuer too.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) April 10, 2016
The Familiarity with Buffalo
Caggiula is familiar with the Sabres organization. He accepted an invitation to the Sabres prospect development camp in the summer of 2014. The Ontario native was impressive during his time in camp. He was part of the team that won the 3 on 3 tournament playing with then top prospect Mikhail Grigorenko and made a great impression to the organization during the development camp. The organization was very interested in signing Caggiula back then, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that they’re interested in him now.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) July 18, 2014
In his postseason press conference today Murray confirmed the Sabres pursuit in signing him. Murray went on to say that Caggiula’s camp has a plan that they’re sticking to in this process. His camp recently cut some teams off the list of potential suitors and Murray stated the Sabres were not one of those teams. He planned to be in contact with Caggiula again soon and work on bringing him in.
The Sabres look like a good fit for the 5’10 forward. It’s close to his home in Pickering, Ontario and Buffalo is a young team on the rise. They have a need for a player on the wing, which could lead to Caggiula stepping right into the NHL lineup next season. Another attraction would be the opportunity to play with star center Jack Eichel. One of the top priorities for the Sabres this summer is finding another winger to play with Eichel and Cagguila fits that need.
We’ll see if the Sabres can rope in the college stand out. They seem like they’ll be in the race to the end and Cagguila has legitimate interest in beginning his NHL career in Buffalo.