Two years ago today (and yesterday), the NHL held its 49th entry draft. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was selected with the first overall pick by the Edmonton Oilers, with Gabriel Landeskog and Jonathan Huberdeau rounding out the top three. The Buffalo Sabres selected six players in that year’s draft.
16. Joel Armia – Right Wing
Armia was drafted out of the SM-liiga, where he was playing with Assat Pori. The year before his draft, he had 18 goals and 11 assists for 29 points in 48 games. Since then, the Pori native has played two seasons more with Assat Pori. In the 2011-12 season, he had 38 points (18-20) in 54 games. Last season, Armia had a career-high 19 goals and 14 assists for 33 points in 47 regular season games. He also had three goals and five assists in 16 playoff games. In any other situation, Armia probably would have joined either the Buffalo Sabres or the Rochester Americans already, but he was ineligible due to the Finnish requirement of military service. However, he’s now expected to play in either Buffalo or Rochester this coming season.
ROUND TWO – No picks
77. Dan Catenacci- Center
Catenacci had just finished his second season in the OHL with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds when he was drafted by the Sabres. Since then, he’s spent the majority of his time in the OHL – but with the Owen Sound Attack. Catenacci has put up three consecutive 70-point seasons, including a 72-point campaign in 2011-12. This past season, he scored 38 goals and 41 assists for 79 points in 67 games. He also had 115 penalty minutes and was a plus-31. The Newmarket native also played two games with the AHL’s Rochester Americans, where he had a goal and two assists.
107. Colin Jacobs (pictured) – Center
Jacobs is one of two WHLers drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in 2011. The Texas native played with the Seattle Thunderbirds from 2008-2012 before spending the majority of last season with the Prince George Cougars. Jacobs had 25 goals and 28 assists for 53 points – all career-highs – in 66 regular season games with the Cougars this past season. He also had a goal and two assists in 11 games with the AHL’s Rochester Americans.
137. Alex Lepkowski – Defense
Lepkowski split his draft year between the Saginaw Spirit and the Barrie Colts, and he’s been with Barrie ever since. The Buffalo-born blueliner had nine assists in 60 regular season games with Barrie this season, adding two goals and two assists in 22 playoff games. The Buffalo Sabres elected not to sign him before the deadline, so he’s no longer property of the Sabres.
167. Nathan Lieuwen – Goaltender
Lieuwen is the other of the two WHLers drafted by the Sabres in 2011, spending his entire WHL career with the Kootenacy Ice. Lieuwen played his final WHL season in 2011-12, where he played 57 games, winning 27 of those games. That season, he had a 2.50 GAA and .914 save percentage. This season, Lieuwen played 27 games with the ECHL’s Greenville Road Warriors. He also appeared in four games with the AHL’s Rochester Americans, where he faced 111 shots and had a .919 save percentage. Lieuwen may have a full-time job in Rochester next season, depending on how contract talks turn out with David Leggio and Matt Hackett.
197. Brad Navin – Forward
The Waupaca, WI native is entering his junior year at the University of Wisconsin in the fall. He had six points in 36 games during his freshman year before tallying four points in 34 games this past season with the UW Badgers. He was the only college player drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in 2011, with teammate Jake McCabe being drafted by the Sabres the following year.