There were a lot of names being thrown around with the No. 8 pick prior to the draft, but the Buffalo Sabres stuck to their process and drafted Jack Quinn.
It’s not the pick the media was expecting. It wasn’t the pick Buffalo Sabres’ fans were hoping for. To many, their pick wasn’t even the best player on the board. In the end, however, none of that mattered to Kevyn Adams and the rest of the Buffalo Sabres’ brass.
It ultimately came down to three players at No. 8. Cole Perfetti, who no one thought would be available that late. Marco Rossi, who was the consensus pick for Buffalo based on what fans were saying on Twitter. And Jack Quinn, Marco Rossi’s teammate that wasn’t slated to be drafted before him.
Buffalo had different plans, however, and it sent Twitter into a frenzy. Buffalo obviously wasn’t interested in the best player available, but rather the best Sabre available. They went after a need (scoring) and they got it.
If you ask me, they took a page out of Big Baller Beane’s draft book. They weren’t listening to what everyone else was saying. Instead, they were focused on what they felt they needed. They trusted their process, not everyone else’s. At the end of the day, that’s what you want out of a front office.
Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand everyone’s fuss. Marco Rossi and Cole Perfetti are more NHL-ready. They’re more talented right now in most people’s eyes. Both of them made sense and both of them would’ve been producing in a year’s time.
But neither of them were Jack Quinn. Neither of them had the scoring ability Quinn has. And neither of them intrigued the Sabres’ brass more than Quinn.
Jack Quinn is a right winger with the ability to play center. He’s good at moving with the puck and baiting the defense into making a move — just to exploit it. He has multiple release points, he can shoot off either foot, and can maneuver with the best of them (which is why he’s able to score so often).
He finished last season with 52 goals and 37 assists in 62 games with the Ottawa 67’s. It was his second full season with the team and took a major leap in year two after finishing the 2018-2019 season with just 12 goals and 20 assists in 61 games. He added 3 goals and 4 assists in the playoffs, but didn’t get a chance to show off in this year’s playoffs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
I think that’s what’s most intriguing here. Not just the jump he took last season, but how dedicated he is to continue making those leaps again and again. He’s always sharpening his craft and has a work ethic you can’t help but admire.
Look, I’ll be the first to tell you that I was pulling for Alexander Holtz to be available and he almost was. Taken right before Buffalo was on the board, Holtz would’ve been a great pick for the Buffalo Sabres and would’ve given them the player with the best shot in the draft.
At the same time, I can’t complain about the Quinn pick, despite the fact he was not on my radar at No. 8. We didn’t get the best shot in the draft, but we did get the best goal scorer and it’s one of the things this franchise has been missing recently.
They know what they have in Jack Eichel, they’re excited about what Victor Olofsson brings, and they feel good about the consistency they get from Sam Reinhart (though we need more from him). Having someone like Jack Quinn in a few years makes their prospect pool look much more powerful.
And while we won’t fully know what he’s capable of at the NHL level for a few more years — I predict two years max — that’s something Buffalo Sabres’ fans are going to have to live with.
I will say, I have a feeling grabbing someone like Jack Quinn, especially with someone like Marco Rossi on the board, says that this team plans on making some major moves this offseason in free agency and through trades.
They might not be getting that player that can produce right away out of the draft, but I think those players are yet to come.
I know it might be difficult to look ahead, especially when everything in the rear-view mirror is so grotesque — I’m looking at you 9-year playoff drought. At the same time, we have to realize that Kevyn Adams was just trusting his process when he selected Jack Quinn with the No. 8 draft pick in the NHL Draft.
He trusted his process. Now it’s time for us to do the same.
Who’s with me?
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