Buffalo Sabres: One bold post-All-Star break prediction for each rookie

The Buffalo Sabres have four rookies playing regularly and you can expect a jump in production from each during the final 32 games this season. 

When you play four rookies, you’re going to sustain some growing pains. And we have seen them from Owen Power, Jack Quinn, J.J. Peterka, and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. But the Buffalo Sabres faithful should have noticed some dramatic improvements in the group, so much that we can get bold in projecting how the second half of their respective rookie campaigns will turn out.

So let’s make a few predictions. Starting with the top pick in 2021, Owen Power.

1 – Owen Power develops his two-way game

We saw Power score three goals in three games over the previous road trip. And yes, it foreshadows an improved offensive game. Once the All-Star break ends, look for Power to continue augmenting his two-way game, and that will lead to a few more goals and even more assists. Overall, he will reach the 35-point mark, if not more.

2 – Jack Quinn scores, and scores often

Quinn has 20 points through 48 games played. With 32 games to go, look for him to make a jump in production. At even strength, Quinn’s Corsi and Fenwick are both over 50%, meaning the Buffalo Sabres have the puck more often when he’s on the ice. Expect him to take more advantage of those chances following the break, and it will lead to a higher-than-expected points total. I’m projecting he snags at least 40 points. Call me bold!

3 – J.J. Peterka gets physical

We haven’t seen an overtly aggressive Peterka this year. But you could say the same for several Sabres who first took the ice during their respective rookie seasons. For Peterka, it’s going to be about physicality heading into the regular season’s final act. While I don’t think his physical nature will fully emerge until later next season, he’s going to show flashes in the near-future.

4 – Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s save percentage rises

I predicted something similar in a previous article. But here, I want to expand on that prediction and say that Luukkonen’s save percentage not only rises; it rises in part thanks to better defensive play as the Buffalo Sabres develop a greater sense of urgency.

Overall, we have seen both good and bad from all four rookies, and that was expected this season. Now that they have experience, expect to see more ups than downs as the playoffs potentially become more of a reality for this young hockey team.

(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)

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