Buffalo Sabres land a major surprise at forward in NHL Mock Draft 3.0

Sometimes, a consensus top-five pick will freefall in the NHL Draft, and in my latest simulation, the Sabres snagged that freefaller.
SKA Hockey Club player, Ivan Demidov (11) seen in action...
SKA Hockey Club player, Ivan Demidov (11) seen in action... / SOPA Images/GettyImages
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43rd overall: Charlie Elick, D/Brandon Wheat Kings

Here’s another one who dropped right to me, as I was convinced Charlie Elick wouldn’t make it far past the first round or would at least go elsewhere shortly thereafter. Elick’s size could be the deciding factor in him going earlier, but you also won’t find too many more disruptive defensemen out there in the second-tier of blueliners in this draft. If Elick falls to the Sabres here, fans should expect to see him eventually make his way to Buffalo, probably in 2027-28 or 2028-29. 

76th overall: Miguel Marques, RW/Lethbridge Hurricanes

Talk about someone who exploded onto the scene for the Lethbridge Hurricanes this year; Miguel Marques went from eight goals and 20 points in 59 regular season games to 74 points and 28 goals in 67 this season. A winger who can make every pass, even if he trusts himself a little too much at times, Marques would be a sensational value pick if he falls to No. 76. 

108th overall: Tarin Smith, D/Everett Silvertips

Tarin Smith doesn’t carry Charlie Elick’s size, but he’s an aggressive player who welcomes contact. With the puck, he notched 44 points and eight goals in 67 regular season games, plus another five points and one goal throughout eight playoff appearances. Smith’s points productivity imply that he’s a two-way player, and it’s a correct assumption. 

109th overall: Topias Hynninen, C/Jukurit

Topias Hynninen’s nine points and lone goal in 43 regular season contests for Jukurit’s big club wasn’t bad for a player his age, and he further showed that prowess in U20 SM-sarja when he had nine points and three goals in eight games, and again at the international level, where he put up nine points in 10 games. Size is nowhere near where it needs to be, but Hynninen will be in Finland for a while (current contract through 2025-26), so he’s got plenty of time to bulk.