Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) -- I found it interesting that the Sabres thought a former 7th round pick was so important that they traded for him and then signed him out of Quinnipiac.
Jordan Samuels-Thomas spent two seasons with the Bobcats and two seasons with Bowling Green. Since he’s already 24, Buffalo could only sign him to a one year deal.
The forward was drafted by Atlanta in 2009 after a successful season with Waterloo of the USHL where he netted 32 goals and 54 points in 59 games.
What attracted Tim Murray to this kid was his 6’4, 216 pound frame. As far as the trade goes, Samuels-Thomas said, “I was excited. Buffalo’s a great city, I’ve been through here a couple of times going back and forth between Canada and I was excited for a new opportunity with an organization that’s really serious about changing the culture here and I’m excited to be a part of it.”
The Jets never really showed interest in this kid, but there’s something that Murray feels his staff can develop, “I was never really in Winnipeg, I’m an Atlanta draft pick and I’ve been in college for four years, so it’s not like I’ve been there and it didn’t work out. When I was in Atlanta there was a different GM and staff and when the franchise went to Winnipeg, its new people and they have their guys.”
Four 7th round picks from this draft have played in the NHL. Jordan Nolan has 134 games with the Kings, Erik Haula has 46 games with Minnesota, but had a great playoff this season with the Wild, Oliver Lauridsen has 15 games with the Flyers and Adam Almquist has two games with Detroit. The last Sabres 7th round pick to play in the NHL was Mark Mancari from the 2004 draft. As you can see it’s not easy to make this league after being drafted so low. Samuels-Thomas said it took him working hard on his game to get noticed, “I think I just rounded out my game and found exactly what my game is. I’m a power forward, I need to keep the game simple and that’s what I’ve learned from my years in college. I’ve also learned how to be trusted in my defensive zone and with playing a little bit of center this year, I think I really rounded out my game.”
Samuels-Thomas says he’s a big power forward, but he’s not expecting to be a big point producer. In his senior season he scored 13 goals and 29 points in 34 games, the season before he had 17 goals in 43 games.
Tonight at 7:00, Samuels-Thomas will join Samson Reinhart, Mikhail Grigorenko and Joel Armia along with many others for a rookie scrimmage. The session will be open to the public.