The Buffalo Sabres, despite being the worst team in the National Hockey League this year, lost the first overall selection in the draft lottery. Had they kept that pick, it would have been just the third time in franchise history the team would have selected at the top of the draft class.
Previous first round selections included Gilbert Perreault (1970) and Pierre Turgeon (1987).
Saddled with the second overall pick in the first round of this years 52nd Annual NHL Entry Draft – it is time to look at the success and failures of the Buffalos when picking second overall.
It has never happened. The highest the Buffalo Sabres have ever selected outside of 1970 and 1987 has been fifth overall.
There were however, two supplemental drafts in 1986 and 1987. The Supplemental draft only existed between the years of 1986 and 1995 and was designed to allow NHL teams to select collegiate level players who at the time of the Entry draft, were ineligible to declare for the draft. The 1995 CBA abolished the supplemental draft.
If you never heard of the supplemental draft before that’s ok, because most players selected in the Supplemental draft never skated for the NHL franchise that selected them. As was the case with the Buffalo Sabres second overall selection in the 1986 Supplemental Draft – Jeff Capello.
Jeff Capello played his collegiate career with the University of Vermont (Hockey East). In four years at the University of Vermont he scored 40 goals while notching 108 points.
After graduating from college, he joined the Buffalo Sabres affiliate the Rochester Americans and played 108 games across two seasons from 1987-1989. He had 21 professional goals and 51 points before hanging up his professional skates.
In 1987 the Buffalo Sabres selected another player second overall in the Supplemental Draft, this time taking Dave Snuggerud. Unlike Jeff Capello, Snuggerud made it to the NHL, playing for the Buffalo Sabres, San Jose Sharks, and Philadelphia Flyers. In his NHL career, Snuggerud appeared in 265 games. He scored 30 goals and added 54 assists. He dropped the gloves for two fights total in his career.