Site hosted by Build your free website today!
By Dan Salfin, Sabres Prospects Editor-In-Chief
Monday, June 28, 1999

I was in Boston this weekend for the Expansion Draft on Friday and the NHL Draft Saturday and I was laughing my ass off when the Leafs came up to the podium and said that they took Cereda! Man, oh man do the Leafs find someway or another to screw up in the draft! And the Bruins fans had alot of class as usual as the boo-birds were apparent when Regier and Ruff went up to the podium in the first round.

Zigomanis was a steal in my opinion. Because of his size and the fact that his skating is questionable, he was passed up by alot of teams but he has the upside that can make him a legitimate playmaking centre on a second or third line. Ziggy works well with his linemates taking the puck up ice. Ziggy is 100% more effective when the puck is brought into the offencive zone rather than the puck being shot into the zone. His raw playmaking skills, great instincts and crisp passing allows him to bring the puck up ice well with his other linemates and create scoring oppourtunities. After from what I have seen from Ziggy over the last few seasons, I cannot stress how much more effective Ziggy is when he skates up ice with his linemates into the offencive zone rather than dumping the puck and establishing a forecheck because that is not Ziggy's game. He would not be much of a factor against teams like the Ottawa 67's and Dallas Stars who tend to play defencive hockey and don't give much space in the neutral zone. But as the play opens up, Ziggy becomes more of a factor with the way he can make a good lead pass up ice and can create odd-man rushes off other teams' turnovers. Zigomanis' skating is by no means as poor as some scouts imply, but his acceleration and speed is by no means his greatest asset either. Besides his overall size and questionable skating ability, his other majour drawback is his face-offs. Ziggy is God-awful on the draw! He's about as good if not worse that Mike Peca on the draw and anyone who has seen Mike Peca try to win face-offs know that I am not serving Ziggy a compliment by saying this. This season he has worked on his face-off ability, but there's still a lot to be desired in his ability on the draw. He needs to beef up to make it in the big leagues but a little fine tuning and Ziggy will find his way on the Sabres roster in a matter of years with the raw play-making skills which he possesses.

Toronto got Peter Reynolds, meaning another promising career has just gone down the drain. Here's hoping Reynolds refuses any offer from the Leafs when they try signing him to a contract so he can re-enter the draft in a few years.

I was surprised to see Chris Kelly slip down in the draft so far. I also wonder how Sabres GM Darcy Regier can pass up on Kelly for Tim Preston??? I thought that after drafting Ziggy in the second round, Regier could draft Kelly and have the two as future linemates. Ziggy's playmaking abilities and crisp passing would fit right in with the play of Kelly. Sure Kelly needs to beef up, but so does Preston and that being said, I feel that Kelly's ability to play both ways and his overall quickness, shot, and soft hands would've worked better in the future on a second or third line for the Sabres in the future with Ziggy centreing Kelly. What could've been...

How does Tom Kostopoulos who was the hardest-working player in the entire OHL playoffs hands down get the shaft in this draft? Since Kostopoulos is my favourite player, this may sound a little biased but being drafted in the 7th round is a SLAP IN THE FACE! Ok, his play was at times disappointing, but he quickly proved all his critics wrong with the kind of hard work he possesses. He is a clutch player and when the game is on the line in the playoffs, he is the kind of player who will give everything he has, whether it be finishing a check in the corner, hustling for a loose puck or come through with a goal when your team needs it the most. I guess alot of scouts never saw a game of the OHL playoffs this season because I'm sure if they saw how Tom played shift by shift, he would've gone much higher in the draft than the seventh round. The hard work possessed by the Barch-Pitirri-Kostopoulos line remained uncontested in the OHL playoffs. It would be his line who received the duties of playing against the other teams' top line. Against the likes of Druken and Colagiacomo for the Plymouth Whalers, this was no easy task. But who else regulated the offensive force of all opposition in the OHL playoffs: Yep, Kostopoulos's line. Tom has played regularly and has been effective for the Knights at all situations whether it be at even strength, power play and on the penalty kill. Kostopoulos has proven to work on his flaws and that is shown in the way that he has vastly proven his skating ability. He still won't be the fastest player on the ice, but as he continues to work on his speed it won't be as much as a drawback as some expect it to be. I know alot of people have been writing him off since he was a 20-year old playing with mostly 16-19 year-olds in the OHL this season, but since the way he has progressed and matured over the last few seasons with the Knights, he would definitely be ready to play for Rochester next season. His continuous hard work, determination, grit (which is one of the Sabres needs), and ability to come through in big situations surmounts his drawbacks and by the seventh round of the draft, the draft has already became a crapshoot so I am surprised to why GM's didn't want to take a chance on Kostopoulos until so late into the draft. Tom has proved critics wrong before and I think it'll be he who has the last laugh on his critics once again. The Penguins by far got the best steal of this years' draft in Kostopoulos. So now I am wondering who the captain of the future for the Sabres will be now that Regier, Luce and the rest of the Sabres scouting staff passed up on Kostopoulos?

Sabres Heisten fits perfectly in gritty mold
Monday, June 28, 1999

Barrett Heisten, the Sabres 1st Round pick in the 1999 NHL Draft.

The Sabres drafted Barrett Heisten as their No. 1 choice yesterday in the amature NHL Entry Draft. He is a perfect player for the Sabres system. The 6-foot-1, 189 pound left wing played for the University of Maine and helped lead them to the National championship this season. A native of Anchorage, Alaska, Heisten played mostly at left wing during his career with the Black Bears. However, he has had spot duty at center also. Last season, Heisten was a freshman with the Black Bears. He scored 12 goals and had 16 assists. He also had 72 minutes in penalties. He was selected to the Hockey East all-rookie team and got to play for Team USA in this year's World Junior Championships. He ended up third on that team in scoring with 2 goals and 4 assists. Report from Central Scouting says "Heisten is a strong skater with very good agility and balance and a player that has excellent acceleration and can clear himself from opponents to get open. He is said to possess outstanding speed and quickness which he uses to create scoring chances and is especially good at handling the puck in tight situations. Heisten is a hard-working, tenacious player who plays with grit and character and that he also plays the body in all zones on the ice and can deliver the big hit."

Darcy Regier said, "More than anything else, he's a Buffalo Sabre. He's got a little bit of Erik Rasmussen to him, a little bit of Varada to him. He's got a little bit of offense to him, but I think he's a courageous player, he plays hard and he really fits as to what our team is about."

Heisten will continue to play for Maine next season as a sophomore.

The Sabres No. 2 pick was Milan Bartovic from Slovakia, a right wing. He is virtually an unknown except for the fact that he was rated 20th by the Central Scouting mainly because of his speed and has puck-handling abilities like Miro Satan. For their second No. 2 pick, the Sabres chose Heisten's fellow Black Bears teammate Doug Janik, a defenseman. He's rated as a solid defenseman with some offensive skills.

The Sabres third 2nd round pick was center Michael Zigomanis. Third round was Tim Preston, a left winger. From that point on, all the Sabre selections are crap shoots. Nobody on this list is likely to make any impact on the team in the immediate future. The top 4 picks will likely arrive in the NHL and be contributors in 3 years at best. Heisten will likely complete his college education at Maine and will be ready in 3 years to crack the ice.