Is J.J. Peterka the Buffalo Sabres next breakout player in 2023-24?

In 2022-23 Buffalo Sabres rookie J.J. Peterka experienced high and low points, but he could make a higher leap than other second year players in the lineup. 

Yesterday, I discussed how well Buffalo Sabres winger J.J. Peterka was playing in the 2023 IIHF World Championship. After Team Germany found itself struggling early in the group phase of the tournament, J.J. Peterka became a pivotal part of the team’s turnaround that catapulted them into quarter-final play.

His nine points in seven outings lead Team Germany, and his play is starting to mirror that of Dylan Cozens’ from the 2022 tournament. Cozens, who had finished his second full season with the Sabres at the time, had just 38 points in 79 games for the Blue and Gold in 2021-22, before turning around to enjoy a successful tournament (13 points in 10 games). Last year, he ultimately pulled off a 68-point, 31 goal, and 37 assist campaign.

Peterka’s 2022-23 numbers were similar to what Cozens had in 2021-22, as he logged 32 in 77 contests, including 12 goals and 20 assists. And although this will only be Peterka’s second full season, whereas Cozens was in his third after having also played 41 games in 2020-21’s shortened year, the winger could still see a Cozens-like improvement in 2023-24.

Will Peterka breakout for the Buffalo Sabres in 2023-24?

Playing alongside established talent is one thing Peterka will have in 2023-24 that Cozens didn’t often have this past season. Often finding himself leading the Kid Line, Cozens often played alongside the then-inexperienced Peterka and Jack Quinn, yet he still evolved into one of the Sabres best scorers.

Peterka will have the benefit of scoring more this season as opponents will key on the now-established Cozens. This could leave a lot of open looks for him, something we saw Peterka creating for himself during the final 1.5 months of 2022-23, even during those turbulent days in March.

Further, Peterka was able to build even more chemistry with Jack Quinn, who he was familiar with during his days in Rochester in 2021-22. If he can use his performance with Team Germany in the 2023 IIHF Worlds as a confidence booster, then don’t let it surprise you if Peterka manages to put up at least 50 or even more points in 2023-24, or as I stated in my article linked above, 60.

Source: Sabres wingers JJ Peterka, Alex Tuch starring at World Championship by Bill Hoppe,

(Statistics provided by Elite Prospects and Hockey-Reference)