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Sabres don't sign Estephan by deadline, relinquish rights

The Sabres have let two of their prospects go.

Buffalo elected not to sign forwards Giorgio Estephan or Gustav Possler by Thursday's deadline. Estephan is now eligible to be chosen in this year's NHL Draft, which will be held June 23-24 in Chicago. Possler becomes a free agent.

Estephan was one of the highest-scoring prospects in the organization, though his skating has been questioned throughout his career. The center had 35 goals and 89 points in 68 games with Lethbridge of the Western Hockey League, then added 11 goals and 24 points in 18 playoff games.

The 6-foot, 190-pounder improved his goal scoring every year in juniors, totaling 114 goals and 267 points in 281 games. He had 12 goals in his first season, followed by 23, 30 and this season's 35. Estephan served as an alternate captain the past two years.

He had a six-game tryout with Rochester following the 2015-16 season, putting up one goal.

Buffalo selected Estephan in the sixth round of the 2015 NHL Draft, making him part of a six-person class. The Sabres have signed three of the draftees – center Jack Eichel and defensemen Brendan Guhle and Devante Stephens – and they still hold the rights to college players Will Borgen and Ivan Chukarov.

Brendan Guhle continues to skate toward role with Sabres

Eric Locke was the last Canadian junior player drafted by the Sabres whose rights were relinquished. Buffalo picked him in the seventh round in 2013. Locke was an undersized center who had 70 goals in his final 116 junior games but never played professionally.

The Sabres drafted Possler in the fifth round in 2013. The 22-year-old winger has been playing professionally in his home country of Sweden. An ankle injury limited Possler to 24 games this season, and he recorded three goals and five points.

Estephan could pay big dividends for Sabres

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