While the Buffalo Sabres could take a high-end forward during the 2023 NHL Draft, they also need a defenseman, and they may take one 13th overall.
There are more than a few viable forwards the Buffalo Sabres could select at 13th overall in the 2023 NHL Draft, but the Blue and Gold may also roll with a blueliner. A greater need at the moment, if general manager Kevyn Adams opts for need over best available, then it’s likely a defenseman will be walking to the stage to put on a blue and gold jersey.
Below, you will find five blueliners who could or will be there for the taking. And as with yesterday’s piece regarding the forwards, the following prospects rank in a wide range, from 12th to 35th, per Scott Wheeler of The Athletic’s rankings.
So which defensemen could the Sabres take in the first round? Keep reading to find out.
5 defensemen the Buffalo Sabres should consider
1 – David Reinbacher, Kloten
While I highly doubt David Reinbacher will fall this far thanks to his respectable size, experience, and has already shown the ability to play for over 20 minutes on average, it’s also important to consider all possibilities. If Reinbacher falls, the Buffalo Sabres wouldn’t hesitate to grab him with the 13th pick.
And if the Sabres draft him, they’re getting someone whose transition and defensive game are more than ready for the NHL, given his performance this past season. Reinbacher is also effective in the offensive zone, with 22 points in 46 games in 2022-23, giving him two-way potential at the next level.
2 – Dmitri Simashev, Yaroslavl
Despite landing at 35th in Wheeler’s ranking, Elite Prospects has Dmitri Simashev ranked 10th, and for good reason. The towering blueliner boasts incredible size, at 6’4, 201 lb. He’s also going to exert an extra dose of physical play, and it’s something the Sabres still need in the system.
He also checks plenty of boxes, including incredible skating ability for a player his size. And once he figures out to take more chances with the puck, his game will evolve. For the time being, Simashev will keep disrupting plays while he hones the weaker aspects of his game.
He’s also the player I can see the Sabres taking at 13th overall, as I pegged him to the Blue and Gold in my first mock draft.