Buffalo Sabres: Sean Malone can find a spot on the lower lines

Buffalo Sabres prospect Sean Malone struggled with injuries during his first season back in Rochester, but his solid play did not go unnoticed. 

Perhaps no other Buffalo Sabres prospect struggled through a more turbulent career than Sean Malone. Originally drafted in the sixth round of the 2013 NHL Draft, Malone has seen playing time in just two NHL games. But that may change in 2022-23.

While injuries will surely raise a red flag, Malone made the most of his 39 appearances this past season, scoring 37 times (20 + 17), good for 0.95 points per game. He also recorded just 74 shots on goal, giving him a 26 shooting percentage.

Malone’s productivity continued into the playoffs. Throughout 10 games, he recorded seven points (2 + 5), showing consistency throughout 49 total contests last season.

Will Sean Malone see time in a Buffalo Sabres uniform in 2022-23?

Although he is 27 and older for a prospect, you can’t rule out the Sabres re-signing Malone to the organization and giving him a chance to become a solid fourth-liner in 2022-23. Especially if the Sabres part ways with Cody Eakin, Mark Jankowski (also an Amerk), and John Hayden.

The Harvard graduate’s competitive nature would make him an ideal fourth-liner. And while you wouldn’t see him score as often at the NHL level, he is the type of player that can bring energy to any NHL roster, which is an ideal trait in a fourth-liner.

You can see Malone’s grit simply for his surviving six seasons at the AHL level apart from two NHL appearances. The most recent of which occurred in 2020-21 with the Nashville Predators.

Realistically, if the Sabres do not re-sign a few forwards, Malone has an outstanding chance to earn a spot on the main roster. And even if they sign replacements, don’t rule out Malone. He has the work ethic and the drive to earn a spot at the next level.

And now that he enjoyed a breakout season in Rochester, Malone will warrant serious consideration as a dark horse candidate to find a spot on the main roster. We will find out if he’s successful in October.

(Statistics provided by Amerks.com)