In a move that has gone largely unnoticed, Buffalo Sabres general manager Darcy Regier announced Friday before the CBA expired that the team had signed Russian goaltender Andrey Makarov to a three year entry-level deal.
The move has certainly played second fiddle to the recent signing of Tyler Ennis and the expiration of the old CBA, but may be quite substantial in the long-term.
Makarov was undrafted in this year’s entry draft much to the surprise of many. He was the seventh-rated North American goalie in this year’s draft and had been projected by many mock drafts to go as high as the third round.
Given the Sabres’ lack of goaltending depth makes this an even more intriguing signing. With Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth playing in between the pipes for the Sabres this season (whenever that may begin), the rest of the goalies in the system do not inspire much confidence for the future.
Hockey’s Future named him one of the three top undrafted players in this year’s draft as well, which speaks to his perceived talent.
Capgeek has his entry-level deal at $583,000 per year, which is extremely affordable for the team if he were to ever make it to the Sabres.
Makarov is seen as a “high risk, high reward” prospect, but the fact that he was not drafted substantially mitigates any risk the Sabres are taking. He is said to be an excellent athlete , but needs to work on positioning to lessen the need for him to make the athletic save all the time.
Makarov was loaned to the Saskatoon Blades, his WHL team, by the Sabres on Friday after his signing. The Sabres are looking for another season’s worth of improvement in Makarov, who could potentially see time in Rochester very soon.