The Buffalo Sabres should be buyers at the 2024 trade deadline next March if they take that next step in their development.
The Buffalo Sabres may have finally reached the stage where they could be selling off some high-end prospects and even mid-tier prospects come the trade deadline in 2024. So if the Blue and Gold feel that they are one player, even a rental, away from making a deep playoff run, perhaps they will be parting ways with a prospect we were hoping to see don a Sabres uniform.
Recently, Matthew Morris of The Hockey Writers listed three prospects who could eventually find their way onto the trade block: Noah Ostlund, Topias Leinonen, and Isak Rosen. Ostlund is one prospect I can legitimately see the Sabres shopping, given the overall logjam at center both at the NHL level and in the prospects pool.
As for Leinonen, the jury remains out. But if another team likes his overall potential, then he too could be part of an overall trade package as a mid-tier prospect. Rosen, however, is the prospect on Morris’ list that the Sabres won’t be trading, for 2023-24 at least.
Buffalo Sabres won’t be trading Isak Rosen in 2023-24
"“There’s nothing that concretely shows that the Sabres aren’t interested in the Swede and he clearly isn’t NHL-ready at this point. But it is worth noting that his name comes up considerably less than a number of other prospects, even ones that seemingly rank below him. Lukas Rousek received an NHL call-up last season and Kulich and Savoie are poised to at some point this year.” – Matthew Morris, via The Hockey Writers"
This is the main quote that jumped out at me, and I’d like to give you my take on it. It’s important to remember that Lukas Rousek is an older prospect whose body and muscle maturity are more ready to withstand the NHL game than Rosen’s.
Further, Matt Savoie is in that awkward position similar to what we saw Shane Wright in last year, where he’s too good to play full-time in the junior leagues, but not old enough to play in the AHL full-time. While he could get a chance to play and stick around in the NHL, the likelier case is that he embarks on the same route that Wright took last season with the Seattle Kraken.
Jiri Kulich, meanwhile, was lights out seemingly all season. His overall game improved as the year dragged on, and he ended the year as the best player in the Rochester Americans lineup among rookies. While Kulich’s body may not be NHL-ready, his skill-set is there, or close.
And the same thing goes for Rosen regarding muscle maturity, as he is still listed at a spindly 5’11, 168 lbs, per Amerks.com. However, he also steadily improved during the season and was a force in the Calder Cup Playoffs, both offensively and defensively, but was a shade below Kulich.
Overall, Rosen is the kind of player the Buffalo Sabres will hang onto and develop thanks to his steady improvement in the AHL last season. This isn’t to say they won’t eventually trade him, but for the foreseeable future, it’s not happening until his body gets closer to maturing and when he further hones his game. At which point, the Blue and Gold have a decision to make – promote him to the NHL as a winger, or trade him to a team for a potential playoff piece.
Source: 3 Sabres Prospects That Could Be Traded by Matthew Morris, The Hockey Writers