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How Buffalo Sabres' top draft picks have done in their NHL debuts

Sabres' top pick Casey Mittelstadt will make his NHL debut Thursday against the Red Wings. Here's a look at how the Sabres' recent first-round picks have done in their first game:

Alexander Nylander (8th overall, 2016)

Debut: A 4-2 loss against Toronto on April 3, 2017.
Stats: No stats in 14:28 of ice time.
Age (years-days): 19-032.

Jack Eichel (2nd overall, 2015)

Debut: A 3-1 loss against Ottawa on Oct. 8, 2015.
Stats: Scored a third-period power-play goal on Craig Anderson and went minus-1 with three shots in 21:28 of ice time.
Age (years-days): 18-345.

Sam Reinhart (2nd overall, 2014)

Debut: A 3-1 loss against Columbus on Oct. 9, 2014.
Stats: No stats in 13:37 of ice time.
Age (years-days): 18-337.

Rasmus Ristolainen (8th overall, 2013)

Debut: A 2-1 loss against Detroit on Oct. 2, 2013.
Stats: Minus-1 with three shots in 16:44 of ice time.
Age (years-days): 18-340.

Nikita Zadorov (16th overall, 2013)

Debut: A 4-2 loss to Colorado on Oct. 19, 2013.
Stats: No stats in 11:01 of ice time.
Age (years-days): 18-187.

Mikhail Grigorenko (12th overall, 2012)

Debut: A 5-2 win against Philadelphia on Jan. 20, 2013 (strike-shortened season).
Stats: Minus-1 with two shots in 11:13 of ice time.
Age (years-days): 18-249.

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Zemgus Girgensons (14th overall, 2012)

Debut: A 2-1 loss against Detroit on Oct, 2, 2013.
Stats: Scored a third-period goal on Jimmy Howard on his first shot and was plus-1 in 11:23 of ice time.
Age (years-days): 19-270.

Joel Armia (16th overall, 2011)

Debut: A 6-3 loss against Detroit on Dec. 23, 2014.
Stats: No stats in 14:47 of ice time.
Age (years-days): 21-206.

Mark Pysyk (23rd overall, 2010)

Debut: A 5-3 loss to Washington on March 17, 2013.
Stats: Minus-1 with one shot in 14:55 of ice time.
Age (years-days): 21-065.

Zack Kassian (13th overall, 2009)

Debut: A 5-1 loss against Columbus on Nov. 25, 2011.
Stats: Assisted on Jordan Leopold's second-period goal while going plus-1 in 11:43 of ice time.
Age (years-days): 20-305.

Tyler Myers (12th overall, 2008)

Debut: A 2-1 OT loss against Montreal on Oct. 3, 2009.
Stats: One shot in 16:13 of ice time.
Age (years-days): 19-244.

Tyler Ennis (26th overall, 2008)

Debut: A 3-2 win against Philadelphia on Nov. 14, 2009.
Stats: Scored a second-period goal on Ray Emery while going plus-1 with four shots in 14:13 of ice time.
Age (years-days): 20-039.

The Sabres dealt their 2007 first-round pick in the Dainius Zubrus trade. The 2005 and 2006 first-round picks Marek Zagrapan (13th overall) and Dennis Persson (24th overall) never appeared in an NHL game.

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Drew Stafford (13th overall, 2004)

Debut: A 4-3 OT win against the New York Rangers on Nov. 5, 2006.
Stats: Assisted on Danny Briere's overtime winner while going plus-1 with one shot in 12:50 of ice time.
Age (years-days): 21-006.

Thomas Vanek (5th overall, 2003)

Debut: A 6-4 win against the New York Islanders on Oct. 5, 2005.
Stats: Assisted on Maxim Afinogenov's third-period goal while going plus-2 with three shots in 16:24 of ice time.
Age (years-days): 21-259.

The Sabres traded 2002 first-rounder Keith Ballard (11th overall) to Colorado for Steven Reinprecht before he made his NHL debut. Reinprecht was subsequently traded to Calgary in part of the package for Chris Drury.

Daniel Paille (20th overall, 2002)

Debut: A 4-1 loss against Florida on Dec. 22, 2005.
Stats: Had one shot and took a tripping penalty in 9:17 of ice time.
Age (years-days): 21-251.

Jiri Novotny (22nd overall, 2001)

Debut: A 2-1 shootout loss to Phoenix on Jan. 12, 2006.
Stats: Two shots in 10:33 of ice time.
Age (years-days): 22-153.

The 2000 first-round pick Artem Kryukov (15th overall) never appeared in an NHL game.

Other notable first-round debuts:

Jay McKee (14th overall, 1995)

Debut: A 5-2 win against Ottawa on April 10, 1996.
Stats: Assisted on Dane Jackson's second-period goal and took a tripping penalty while logging two shots.
Age (years-days): 18-215.

Martin Biron (16th overall, 1995)

Debut: A 6-3 loss against Pittsburgh on Dec. 26, 1995.
Stats: Allowed four goals in the first period and was replaced by Steve Shields, but returned for the third period and stopped 20 of 24 total shots.
Age (years-days): 18-133.

Pierre Turgeon (1st overall, 1987)

Debut: A 2-2 tie with the Minnesota North Stars on Oct. 8, 1987.
Stats: Took a holding penalty and had one shot on goal.
Age (years-days): 18-041.

Game logs are not available prior to the 1987-88 season. Other notable first-round picks include Tom Barrasso (5th overall, 1983), Phil Housley (6th overall, 1982), Dave Andreychuk (16th overall, 1982), Mike Ramsey (11th overall, 1979), Larry Playfair (13th overall, 1978), Ric Seiling (14th overall, 1977), Jim Schoenfeld (5th overall, 1972), Rick Martin (5th overall, 1971) and Gilbert Perreault (1st overall, 1970). Here is the complete list.

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