Sabres Draft Watch: D - Cale Makar

Posted at 1:29 PM, Jun 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-07 13:31:45-04

"The Buffalo Sabres select ______   _____ from ___________."

Will new Sabres GM Jason Botterill be one of those guys who does the whole "We want to say hi to our fans watching from 716 Food and Sport back in Buffalo" or will he take after his predecessor and just announce the pick with a subdued look?

We will more than likely find out on June 23 at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft in Chicago. The Sabres hold the eighth overall pick and assuming they don't make a trade, they have plenty of options with their first selection. As the draft rapidly approaches we'll look at some intriguing prospects for the Sabres and break down what they bring to the table. Buckle up, it's going to be a fun few weeks.

Cale Makar

Defenseman, Brooks Bandits, Alberta Junior Hockey League
5'11" - 180 pounds

He's been compared to Erik Karlsson, so yeah, that's pretty neat.

Makar has skyrocketed up draft boards quite possibly more than any other prospect over the past few months.

“Unfortunately, when you’re playing in a tier-two league, you don't get as much attention,” said  NHL director of Central Scouting Dan Marr. “But he was on everyone’s radar going into the season.”

The right-handed defenseman is the ninth-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting and is coming fresh off a 75 point season with the Brooks Bandits (Alberta Junior Hockey League).  Not bad, especially when you consider he put up those massive numbers in just 54 games.

"I'm an offensive defenseman....I don't like to shy away from jumping up in the rush and be very mobile in the zone," Makar said when in town for the NHL Combine. "Obviously my role is as a d-man, so I've gotta be back sometimes."

There's a chance Makar is gone by the time the Sabres pick, but if he's available, Botterill should run to the podium. The knock on Makar is that he's 'undersized' at 5'11" and 180 pounds. But in today's NHL that isn't as big of an issue as it was in the late 90's and early 2000's. Plenty of 'smaller' defensemen have had success in the league, just look the aforementioned Karlsson, Jared Spurgeon from the Minnesota Wild and Torey Krug from the Boston Bruins. All three have had great success at relatively young ages, both offensively and defensively.

And his size doesn't appear to be scaring teams away. While in Buffalo, Makar met with 27 teams, including the Sabres.

"That interview went really well. It was kind of like the other ones, the same questions, they just wanted to see and kind of feel out who you are, but yeah, it'd be a cool place to end up, definitely."

If Buffalo does land Makar, don't expect to see him in a Sabres sweater anytime soon. Next year he'll be taking his talents to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he'll begin his collegiate career. That, however, shouldn't frighten the Sabres, or any team for that matter. Makar could use some developing, like almost every 18-year-old that gets drafted.

He's an exceptional talent and one the hockey world is excited about, and if the Sabres draft him, you should be too.