The unusual scouting year forced the Buffalo Sabres and the National Hockey League's 31 other teams to get creative with scouting.
Live viewings were limited. Video became a useful tool.
A combination of both led the Sabres to their fifth selection in the 2021 NHL draft, as General Manager Kevyn Adams used pick No. 88 in the third round on Russian winger Stiven Sardarian.
The NHL draft begins at 8 p.m. Friday on ESPN, and the Buffalo Sabres have the first pick overall. Get caught up with our team coverage leadin…
The Sabres acquired the draft pick from the Florida Panthers in the Brandon Montour trade.
Sardarian, 18, was teammates with Sabres second-round draft choice Prokhor Poltapov on Krasnaya Armiya Moskva of Russia's top junior league. Listed at 6-foot-1, 156 pounds, was ranked by NHL Central Scouting as the No. 73 European skater in this draft.
It's likely the Sabres noticed Sardarian while using video to watch Poltapov. After all, Buffalo does not have a scout based in Russia and Sardarian, unlike Poltapov, did not participate in the IIHF Under-18 World Championship. Sardarian totaled nine goals and 30 points in 50 games for Krasnaya Armiya Moskva.
Sardarian is committed to attend the University of New Hampshire for the 2022-23 season. He is lauded for his blend of playmaking ability and vision, traits that help him execute flawless passes to teammates.