With Jiri Kulich likely in Rochester and perhaps making a cameo with the Buffalo Sabres in 2022, some may ask whether Matthew Savoie will follow suit.
In 2022-23, Owen Power will be the only player from the last two drafts in a Buffalo Sabres uniform for at least most of the season. And with Power having joined the team for an eight-game stint last season, the countdown begins as to which member of the 2021 and 2022 draft classes will next take the ice for the Sabres.
Given the sheer talent Matthew Savoie has shown, his name has been thrown around as a potential dark horse to appear on the Sabres roster. But it won’t happen in 2022-23. The last thing the Sabres need is for another high-potential first round pick to see the NHL ice too soon.
It was a mistake they made with Mikhail Grigorenko nearly ten years ago. And it should serve as a cautionary tale to let a kid, regardless of their draft position, to develop most of their game in the junior leagues. Especially for a team like the Sabres, who already have a roster capable of warranting them halfway decent results.
Matthew Savoie is good enough to earn a spot with the Buffalo Sabres, but it is smarter to play it safe with the ninth overall pick.
Not that Savoie couldn’t earn a spot. I can most certainly see him outplaying some current Sabres on the roster today. But it doesn’t mean they need to hurry him onto the ice. Let him continue to develop his game in the WHL, where he will dominate this season and likely make his NHL debut in 2023-24.
Okay, now I can hear some of you screaming Jiri Kulich, as it is likely he will debut this season. While this may be true, Kulich will spend most of the season in Rochester and perhaps make a one-off appearance in the NHL. At most, he will be this season’s version of Owen Power and play in the final few contests of the season unless the Sabres are vying for a wild card spot.
Savoie can step in and earn a spot on the Buffalo Sabres roster tomorrow. But there is no reason, nor need, for the Sabres to hurry his development. On the other side, Kulich may be the first of the 2022 draft class to see NHL ice, but it will only be for a select slate of games and limited ice time.