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Sharpen Up: June 12, 2017

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Our 2017 NHL Draft coverage, presented by New Era, is rolling here at The first round is set for 7 p.m. on Friday, June 23, which is basically right around the corner. 

If you've missed any of our coverage so far, check it out here. 

We're currently in the Top 10 in Kris Baker's Top 31 countdown, where he's analyzing the best prospects available in this year's draft.

Buffalo is picking eighth, which means we're getting into the territory of players who could end up being selected by the Sabres. Baker listed a trio of forwards - Owen Tippett, Martin Necas and Eeli Tolvanen - as the eighth, ninth and 10th best prospects available, respectively. 

As for defensemen who might go in the top 10 next week, Brian Duff chatted with Miro Heiskanen - the No. 4 ranked European skater, according to NHL Central Scouting - and Cale Makar, a dynamic defenseman who has been compared to Erik Karlsson, when they were in town for the Combine. Watch those 1-on-1 conversations below:

Video: 1-on-1 with Miro Heiskanen

 Video: 1-on-1 with Cale Makar

Duffer also spoke with Sportsnet's Sam Cosentino, who shared his thoughts on what he expects to be an unpredictable first round.

"In most drafts you can reasonably predict, with a certain amount of accuracy, the top 20 to 25 guys," he said. "That doesn't exist here. I think once you get down to about seven or eight, things are going to really start to get crazy."

Here's the conversation in its entirety, in which Cosentino breaks down some of the prospects available, the impact of the Expansion Draft and more:

Video: Sam Cosentino on the 2017 Draft class

Look out for more 1-on-1 interviews with other top prospects and media experts throughout the week on


The coaching search continues

Now that the Stanley Cup Final is over, Sabres general manager Jason Botterill is able to interview coaches from the Pittsburgh and Nashville staffs. This would likely include Predators assistant Phil Housley and Penguins assistant Rick Tocchet. 

"We've had some very good discussions with people," Botterill told The Buffalo News last night after Pittsburgh's Cup-clinching win. "But all the options will be there now and we have to make a decision."

Botterill has said that he'd like to have a new coach in place by the draft, so things could be picking up pretty quickly.  

The Florida Panthers announced this morning that they've hired Bob Boughner as their head coach, meaning that Buffalo is currently the only team with a vacancy. 

Stay tuned. 


On tap this week

If you haven't yet, bookmark this page to stay up to date with all of our upcoming draft coverage. We'll reveal prospects seven through four on Baker's list this week, post more 1-on-1 conversations and take a closer look at the prospects in our draft notebooks. 

We'll also debut new episodes of Prospect Avenue with Duffer and Baker, with Episode 1 - taking a look at the forwards available at No. 8 - coming on Wednesday.  


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