September 32-in-32: Buffalo Sabres

Kevin Wong

2022-09-05

Welcome to the September 2022 edition of the DobberProspects 32-in-32 Series. This month, we are diving into the depth of each organization, looking at their recent graduates, risers, fallers, and top-20 prospects.

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By: Kevin Wong

It seemed unlikely twelve months ago that the Buffalo Sabres would be where they are today. In the months since drafting Owen Power in July 2021 and their acquisition of Alex Tuch and Peyton Krebs this past November, the organization has seen a plethora of prospects audition admirably for roles with the team in addition to an instance of unexpected stardom.

Tage Thompson, who in 2020-2021 was a middle-six forward with the Sabres, blossomed last season into a major force. His stellar 38-goal, 68-point campaign earned him a seven-year, $50 million extension this past week. His towering size, his freewheeling style of play, as well as his chemistry with Tuch and Jeff Skinner, the latter of whom experienced a 33-goal, 63-point comeback season, have helped the Sabres forge a new team identity and pivot towards a faster, stronger, more creative style.

Meanwhile, Power, Krebs, Mattias Samuelsson, Casey Fitzgerald, and Brett Murray, merely prospects before the season started, all contributed adequately and demonstrated that they could perform at the NHL level in 2021-2022.

The Sabres fortified their prospect pool with three first-round selections this year in Matthew Savoie, Noah Ostlund, and Jiri Kulich. Both J.J. Peterka and Jack Quinn thrived offensively in Rochester and are expected to begin the upcoming NHL season with the Sabres. Rasmus Dahlin broke the 50-point barrier for the first time in his NHL career, and Dylan Cozens scored 38 points in his sophomore campaign.

Furthermore, the former 2020 seventh-round selection Devon Levi, included by the Florida Panthers along with a first-round pick in their exchange for Sam Reinhart, became an NCAA superstar this season with a record-setting goaltending performance that earned him the Mike Richter Trophy, collegiate goaltender of the year honors, a place on Team Canada’s 2022 men’s Olympic team, and the distinction of becoming a Hobey Baker Award finalist.

The 2021-2022 hockey season was a remarkable course correction for the Buffalo Sabres, who only a calendar year ago seemed unlikely to find much short-term optimism. With their prospect pool reloaded with high-quality talent and their younger professional players taking steps forward, the organization’s outlook appears to be as bright as it has been in years. A youth movement is underway, which should excite Sabres fans as they await the return of a competitive atmosphere that has