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2013 NHL draft: Team grades

Buffalo Sabres among several teams scoring big in loaded prospect class

Updated: July 1, 2013, 11:44 AM ET
By Grant Sonier | ESPN Insider

Evaluating draft classes a few hours after the conclusion of the draft may seem a little hasty, since we won't see many of the 2013 picks on NHL ice for quite some time. But there are still a number of factors that illustrate how well teams did with their selections.

In compiling these grades, I look at the following areas:

The value: First and foremost, the draft is about acquiring assets. Did a team add the most valuable prospect at that given point in the draft?

Team needs: Organizational needs come into play as well. By that I don't mean a team needs a second-line center and fill it with a center in the draft. I mean, how does this player fit into their pipeline? Do they need size? Scoring? More defensive depth? That's what I'm looking at there.

Total talent added: Simply put, how much total talent did a team bring in during this draft? This last part is key, because there was a lot of talent in this draft, even well into the third round.

There is a very good possibility that these grades will change over time, when these prospects get some more time under their belts. But right now they're based off my evaluation of the prospects as they entered the draft and other potential picks teams could have made in certain draft positions. So with that as a primer, here's a look at my 2013 draft grades, where the teams with multiple early picks in a very deep draft made the most of their extra opportunities.


Buffalo Sabres: A+

Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov gives Buffalo two elite-sized, gritty D-men with picks No. 8 and No. 16 and, over time, will have a major impact on the back end. The blue line was a big need for the Buffalo system, and they addressed it as well as they could with their first two selections. In the second round, the Sabres add skilled, blue-collar forward J.T. Compher, and two big hard working forwards in Connor Hurley from Edina High School and Justin Bailey from Kitchener of the OHL -- both give added size. This was a really strong draft for the Sabres.

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