32 Teams in 31 Days NHL Team Recaps: Buffalo Sabres

Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

32 Teams in 31 Days NHL Team Recaps: Buffalo Sabres

Headlines

32 Teams in 31 Days NHL Team Recaps: Buffalo Sabres

By

Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

After all the drama the Jack Eichel situation posed for the Sabres and their organization, it almost now feels like none of it ever happened. For years, after drafting Eichel, the organization continued a stretch of ineptitude in trying to build a proper team around him. Not once did they have the chance to compete in the playoffs or build a roster competitive enough to get them even close. But now, after his trade request was finally completed, there is some stability and new direction for their franchise. 

For the past two years, the Sabres have fully committed to the process of rebuilding through drafting and developing players from within the organization. General Manager Kevyn Adams had to move his former key pieces in some high-profile trades with players like Jack Eichel, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Sam Reinhart being sent out to accumulate players and picks. At a glance, the pipeline has a great chance to grow and develop since there is more talent to work with in Buffalo, Rochester, and beyond than there has been in a long time within the organization.

The Sabres have now finally committed to building a huge youth movement in Buffalo and it’s turning out for the better. Sure, they still have the remaining contracts of Jeff Skinner and Kyle Okposo, but the amount of amazing young talent they have accumulated is amazing. Back in February, Scott Wheeler of The Athletic ranked the Buffalo Sabres prospect pool first in the entire NHL. And this was before the stellar draft they had back in July. 

Building around defense the Sabres have prioritized these positions when they selected Rasmus Dahlin and Owen Power both first overall back in 2018 and 2021. Defense isn’t their only priority as in the past couple of drafts, the team has done their homework and added a ton of forwards into the fold through drafting. Like Jack Quinn for instance, the 20-year-old was the number eight pick in the 2020 Draft and is poised to take his shot at making the NHL. He had 61 points (26 goals, 35 assists) in 44 regular-season games for the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League, which ranked him fourth among league rookies.

Here’s a quick list of the Sabres best prospects by position.

  • Wingers – Jack Quinn, J.J. Peterka, Isak Rosen
  • Centers – Dylan Cozens, Peyton Krebs, Matthew Savoie, Noah Ostlund, Jiri Kulich
  • Defense – Owen Power, Mattias Samuelsson, Ryan Johnson
  • Goaltending – Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Devon Levi, Erik Portillo, Topias Leinonen

The Sabres have plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future with so many blue-chip prospects in their system. This gives General Manager Kevyn Adams options and optimism as the team heads towards becoming a legitimate contender. The stress of trying to re-sign every player and the need to spend aggressively for veterans in free agency is lessened when you have trust in your young depth and can develop players within your system properly. And the more enticing prospects you have, the more attractive you are as a trade partner when you’re a competitive enough team to become a buyer at the trading deadline.

Latest

More The Wright Way Network