With one of the best prospect pools in the NHL, the Buffalo Sabres once again find themselves well represented at the IIHF World Juniors.
The Buffalo Sabres will get to see three former first round picks compete in the IIHF World Junior Championship in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Those prospects, Jiri Kulich, Noah Ostlund, and Isak Rosen will represent Czechia and Sweden, respectively.
One name not present is Matt Savoie, the ninth overall pick in 2022. However, you don’t need to lose sleep over this, as Savoie has rarely been invited to play in tournaments like these. Rest assured, he’s once again enjoying a successful season with the Winnipeg Ice. So now that that’s out of the way, let’s focus on Kulich, Ostlund, and Rosen.
Kulich, who has been lights out since the Buffalo Sabres drafted him 28th overall, has 16 points, six goals, and 10 assists in 24 games with the Rochester Americans this season. Having played in Czechia last year, Kulich faced a learning curve for the North American game, but he has seamlessly adjusted.
He already possesses an NHL-caliber shot, plus the ability to create scoring chances at 5-on-5. With a bit more refinement to his game, Kulich could find himself in a blue and gold uniform as early as next season.
Buffalo Sabres prospects Ostlund, Rosen will represent Sweden
Ostlund is playing professionally in Sweden for Djurgardens IF, who are currently in Sweden’s second-tier professional league, Hockey Allsvenskan. The upside is that he is playing often in the top six, and has contributed 11 points, two goals, and nine assists in 19 games. He displays a remarkable hockey IQ, characterized with his patience and on-ice awareness. His production should increase as he gains more experience at the professional level.
Rosen, like Kulich, was one of the better players at the 2022 World Juniors, scoring five points, four goals, and an assist in seven contests. He hasn’t, unfortunately, been as effective as Kulich in Rochester, with just 15 points, three goals, and 12 assists in 25 games.
While his North American game needs refinement, his play at the international level is another story. With more ice to work with, look for him to once again become a top performer in this tournament. But it would be tremendous if he were to put his experience playing the North American game to good use.
(Statistics provided by Elite-Prospects)
Article Source: Trio of Sabres prospects in action at IIHF World Junior Championship by Lance Lyswowski
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