The Buffalo Sabres have one of the best prospect pools, and Scott Wheeler of The Athletic currently has them sixth overall.
The Buffalo Sabres are a team looking to remain in playoff contention for the duration of the season for the first time in over a decade. If they make the playoffs in 2023, it will serve as an added bonus.
But they still have one of the best prospect pools in the NHL. And this pool is so talented, it’s going to be frightening to think how good this team will be if the prospects listed below make the leap from their respective college, minor league, and professional teams to the NHL.
So who’s #1 on my first prospect ranking of 2023? Let’s find out.
5 – Viktor Neuchev, Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg
Last season, Neuchev made his mark in the MHL, scoring 67 times in 61 games. In 2022-23, he’s seeing ample time in the KHL, and has 12 points in 54 games. While this may not seem like a lot, KHL teams often limit their youngest players’ ice times, so he’s made quite an impression this season.
If Neuchev keeps this pace up, I can see him playing in Rochester next season alongside other big-name prospects like Aleksandr Kisakov and Isak Rosen. Once adapted to the North American game, it won’t be incredibly long before you see him make an appearance in a blue and gold uniform, perhaps 2024-25, or 2025-26.
4 – Isak Rosen, Rochester Americans
One of the more creative prospects, Rosen’s small size doesn’t limit him. An agile, fast skater, Rosen’s playing style is also in lieu with the Buffalo Sabres identity, which is a huge plus for the undersized winger.
With 20 points in 35 contests, Rosen has also fared well so far during his first season in North America. But if you were to put a timetable as to when he would play regularly for the Blue and Gold, expect it to happen in 2024-25 at the earliest, with at least one more predominant season in the AHL.