Beyond the top two picks, the first round of this year's NHL Draft figures to be as unpredictable as ever.
Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, in some order, will almost certainly be the first two players off the board on June 21. After that, the consensus seems to be that it's a deep first round with a fairly wide range of players who could fall in the top 10.
Having said that, it's important to cast a wide net when trying to predict who the Sabres might select with the seventh overall selection. Today, we'll look at USNTDP winger Matthew Boldy.
Matthew Boldy, LW - USNTDP
Video: 1-on-1 with Matthew Boldy
Whereas fellow US National Team Development Program winger Cole Caufield makes his living with his shot and elusiveness, Boldy combines his strong shot with quick hands and a power forward mentality. He's 6-foot-2, 192 pounds, the result of a four-inch growth spurt during his two seasons in Ann Arbor.
Boldy scored 81 points (33+48) in 64 games last season, good for fourth on a team that had 15 skaters at the combine and could have up to six players taken in the top 10 of the draft. NHL.com's Mike Morreale has him rated as the top left wing in the draft.
What he's saying
On how he developed his hands: "I think some of it's kind of natural, just growing up when you're so young, you don't even realize it. But it's something you kind of work on every day, fiddling with the after and before practice. I mean, you learn a lot from your teammates. Me and [fellow draft-eligible prospect] Trevor Zegras do a lot with the puck, kind of just messing around a lot."
On blending speed and power: "I think that's how I like to play and that's probably how I describe my game, I think being able to use your body and protect the puck and kind of be hard to play against, but doing that in a way that is still super skilled and kind of creative makes it a lot harder for the D to figure out what you're going to do."
What they're saying
USA U-18 coach John Wroblewski: "Boldy is a relentless 200-foot player cut out of the hold of Marian Hossa. His zone entry attacks are so unique. His 6-foot-2 frame has surprising agility and cutback ability. Then he utilizes his slick yet powerful hands to form a potent, unpredictable attack."
Why he could be selected at 7
Boldy is the fifth-ranked prospect on Craig Button's list and eighth according to The Athletic's Corey Pronman. NHL.com's most recent mock draft has him going 10th or later.
The only opinions that matter in this scenario are those in the Sabres' draft room, and Boldy represents another dynamic offensive skillset for them to choose from.