The Buffalo Sabres possess one of the top groups of prospects in the National Hockey League and that talent was on display at the club’s Development Camp at the Harborcenter in Buffalo, NY this week. The Sabres saw some growth from youngsters Rasmus Dahlin, Tage Thompson, and Dylan Cozens last season, and will be looking for a wave of youngsters to take jobs and show growth this season.
“There’s a lot of talented kids out there, (and) now the determining factor is going to be their love and passion and fight to make it,” Sabres head coach Don Granato said on Saturday. “There’s a lot of players that could be real impactful to winning at the NHL level. They just gotta keep pushing themselves.”
2021 first overall pick Owen Power is at the top of the prospect list. The 19-year-old earned a gold medal at the World Championships in Latvia, played in the abbreviated World Junior Championships in Edmonton last December and in the Beijing Olympics for Canada. The big blueliner had 32 points (3 goals, 29 assists) in 33 games for the Michigan Wolverines (NCAA), played eight games for the Sabres at the end of last season, and is expected to have a large role for Buffalo in his rookie season.
Levi, acquired from the Florida Panthers in the Sam Reinhart deal last summer after performing well for Canada in the 2021 World Junior, was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award nominee and is returning to Northeastern University, but hinted at signing with the Sabres after his junior season. Portillo is returning for his senior season at Michigan and could become an unrestricted free agent next August if he chooses not to sign with Buffalo.
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2019 first-rounder Ryan Johnson faces a similar dilemma after his final year at the University of Minnesota, with three lefty blueliners in Dahlin, Power, and Mattias Samuelsson ahead of him on the depth chart.
— Michael Augello (@MikeInBuffalo) July 15, 2022
Where the Sabres could get the most immediate help is up front. 2020 draft picks Jack Quinn and J-J Peterka led the AHL Rochester Americans in scoring last season and could make the club with a good performance in training camp.
2021 top pick Isak Rosen flashed his impressive skills and will play for Sweden in the resumed World Juniors next month and likely return to the SHL in September. 2022 top pick Matthew Savoie did not participate due to an injured shoulder, but he, 16th overall selection Noah Ostlund, and 28th overall pick Jiri Kulich all signed their entry-level contracts.
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