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Sabres prospects report: Draft choices ready to impress

The Buffalo Sabres will look for their younger players to get bigger and stronger while gaining experience in the 2016-17 season. Here's a look at where the Sabres prospects will be playing this year from major-juniors to the NCAA and Europe:

Major-Junior

WHL

Vojtech Budik (defenseman) –The fifth-round pick in June returns to the Prince Albert Raiders. He also played for the Czech Republic’s U18 team last year.

Sabres prospect Giorgio Estephan could prove a steal of a sixth-round draft pick. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

Giorgio Estephan. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

Giorgio Estephan (forward) -- The Sabres didn't return him to his junior club in Lethbridge until Oct. 4. An assistant captain for the Hurricanes this season, he had 74 points with 30 goals in 59 games last year. He also played six games with the Amerks at the end of the season, netting his first professional goal.

Brandon Hagel (left wing) – Returns to the Red Deer Rebels after going in the sixth round to the Sabres this June. Had 47 points (13 goals, 34 assists) in 72 games last year.

Devante Stephens (defenseman) – Back for his third year with the Kelowna Rockets. He’s had 11 points the past two seasons and was a fifth-round pick in 2015.

OHL

Austin Osmanski (defenseman) – The East Aurora native was a seventh-round pick in June and lasted a few days at Sabres training camp before returning to the Mississauga Steelheads.

Cliff Pu (forward) – He returns to the London Knights after the Sabres selected him in the third round in June. Had 31 points for the Knights last year.

QMJHL

Vasily Glotov (forward) – A native of Russia, he enters his first season of North American hockey playing for the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. Drafted in the seventh round in 2016.

College hockey

Christopher Brown (center) – Begins his second season for Boston College after netting 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 41 games his freshman season. Drafted by the Sabres in the sixth round in 2014.

Sabres prospect William Borgen is a freshman defenseman playing with St. Cloud State, the No. 2 overall seed in the tournament.

Defenseman William Borgen.

William Borgen (defenseman) – Entering his sophomore season at St. Cloud State. Borgen played for the U.S. in the World Junior Championships in Finland last year, picking up three assists in seven games.

Ivan Chukarov (defenseman) – Scored eight points including three goals in his freshman season at UMass. He was a seventh-round pick in 2015.

Casey Fitzgerald (defenseman) – Racked up 27 points for Boston College as a freshman with four goals. Was a third-round pick in June.

Anthony Florentino (defenseman) – Entering his senior season at Providence the 21-year old has 38 points (13 goals, 25 assists) in 101 games. He was a fifth-round pick in 2013.

Connor Hurley (center) - The 21-year-old is looking to make a leap in his junior season at Notre Dame. He scored 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) last year. Was a second-round draft pick in 2013.

Sean Malone (center) – Enters his senior season at Harvard with 57 career points (24 goals, 33 assists) in 79 career games for the Crimson.

Philip Nyberg (defenseman) – The native of Sweden begins his freshman season at Wisconsin. He was a fifth-round pick in June.

Cal Petersen (goalie) – Continues to impress at Notre Dame where he will begin his junior season. He had a 2.20 goals against average and a .927 save percentage last year.

Judd Peterson (center) – Enters his junior season at St. Cloud State after a breakout year of 23 points (16 goals, seven assists) in 38 games. He had just seven points as a freshman. A seventh-round pick in 2012.

Maxwell Willman is coming off a strong showing at development camp.

Maxwell Willman had a strong showing at development camp.

Maxwell Willman (forward) – The 21-year-old enters his junior season at Brown. He has 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in 59 career games. He was a fifth-round pick in 2014.

Europe

Rasmus Asplund (forward) – Drafted in the second round in June, Asplund is playing for Farjestad BK in the SHL in his native Sweden this year.

Jonas Johansson (goalie) – A third-round pick in 2014, the Swedish native is playing for Almtuna IS in the Allsvenskan, the second-highest league in Sweden.

Victor Olofsson (forward) – Playing for Frolunda HC in his native Sweden. He was a seventh-round pick in 2014.

Gustav Possler (forward) – Swedish forward playing for Djurgardens IF in the SHL. He was a fifth-round pick in 2013.

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