Since being established in 1970, the Buffalo Sabres have had their fare share of both draft steals and draft busts. At 18 years of age, it is extremely difficult to determine how these prospects will develop in the coming years. Scouts can only do so much, so a lot of times it comes down to luck when drafting.
The Buffalo Sabres will hold the 2nd overall pick in the upcoming NHL draft, with three second rounder’s as well. It is important that Sabres GM Tim Murray hits on all these picks so the Sabres can continue to rebuild the right way. With that being said, here are the top 5 Sabres draft busts.
- Morris Titanic – 12th overall 1973
Drafted 12th overall in 1973, Morris Titanic played just 19 games with the Buffalo Sabres, recording zero points. The Toronto native was never able to develop his offensive game at the pro level, that he displayed in juniors. After playing 2 games for the Sabres in 1975-76, Titanic would play the next couple of years in the AHL and IHL before ending his pro career in 1980.
- Jiri Dudacek – 17th overall 1981
The Buffalo Sabres drafted Jiri Dudacek with the 17th overall pick in the 1981 draft, making him the highest drafted Czechoslovakian in NHL history at the time. Despite Scotty Bowman’s attempts to bring Dudacek to North America, he never played a game in the NHL. He would retire from pro hockey in 1991 after playing a few years in the Czech league.
- David Cooper – 11th overall 1992
The Sabres drafted defenseman David Cooper with the 11th overall pick in 1992. Cooper had decent numbers in the AHL, but was never able to make the transition to the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres. Cooper would go on to spend a few seasons playing in 30 career games recording 10 points. Cooper retired in 2008 after playing in the Italian league.
- Artem Kryukov – 15th overall 2000
This was not one of Darcy Regier’s better picks as Sabre’s GM. The Sabres selected Russian forward Artem Kryukov with the 15th overall pick in the 2000 draft. What hurts most about this pick was not the fact that Kyrukov never played an NHL game, but the good players that the Sabres could have drafted. Players amoung the likes of Alex Frolov (20th), Brad Boyes (24th), Steve Ott (25th), and Justin Williams (28th) were all taken after Kryukov.
1. Marek Zagrapan – 13th overall 2005
The biggest draft bust in Sabres history, Darcy Regier pulled the trigger on Slovakian born Marek Zagrapan with the 13th pick in the 2005 NHL draft. Zagrapan was Buffalo’s first pick since the 2004 lockout had ended, and it was vital the Sabres hit on this pick. Unfortunately for them, Zagrapan never played a game in the NHL. He played 3 seasons in the AHL, before departing back to Russia to play in the KHL and various European leagues.