3 first-round talents the Sabres can steal in Round 2 of the NHL Draft

More than 32 players are worth picking in the first round of the 2024 NHL Draft, but a few could fall to the Sabres in Round 2 on Saturday.
Guelph Storm v Oshawa Generals
Guelph Storm v Oshawa Generals / Chris Tanouye/GettyImages
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No matter the sport and no matter the draft, we always see a contingent of players supposed to go in the first round fall to the second. And the 2024 NHL Draft will be no different, so since the Buffalo Sabres have a pick in the early-middle portion of the second round, there is a good chance they will land not one but two first-round-caliber talents on draft day if they keep their respective picks.

So, which players can be drafted toward the end of Round 1 who could end up falling into the middle part of the second round? Below, you’ll catch two forwards and one defenseman who can easily hear their names called on Friday night. But don’t be surprised if they’re still available on Saturday afternoon. 

Jett Luchanko, C/Guelph Storm

Jett Luchanko is a 17-year-old center whose size isn’t ideal, yet not quite a disadvantage at 5’11, 187 pounds. Since he still has a few more years of growing, it’s not farfetched to think he won’t put on at least another two or three inches and 10-15 pounds at minimum.

There also isn’t a single unfavorable trait about Luchanko on the surface, as terms like “workhorse” and “two-way player” are how he’s described on his Elite Prospects profile. If you want more fun, Sportsnet/Bukala has Luchanko ranked 12th overall, but as his Elite Prospects page indicates, most have a late-first, early-second-round grade on him. 

What I like most about Luchanko is his ability to adapt in 2023-24 following a 2022-23 season that definitely looked overwhelming. He finished the year racking up 46 games but scored just five goals and put up 14 points. Shift gears to the postseason and he had just one point in six games. 

This past year was met with a different outcome, as Luchanko’s 74 points in 68 games saw him improve from 0.31 points per game to 1.09 per. He also had 20 regular season goals and another three points in four playoff games. The more I learn about Luchanko, the more his play reminds me of Dylan Cozens’, one that ups the intensity when he’s on the ice but with more speed to his game