The Buffalo Sabres have several notable names heading back to the junior hockey leagues in 2023-24, and many will be fun to follow this year.
The Buffalo Sabres have a strong prospect pool, but most often, those heading back to the junior leagues become afterthoughts. During the waning days of September, the Blue and Gold predictably sent back the likes of Scott Ratzlaff, Ethan Miedema, Vsevolod Komarov, and Mats Lindgren, to their respective junior hockey teams, where they will look to continue honing their games.
There are others in the system playing at the junior level, but the players listed above jump out more than anyone else. And of those listed, two of them are especially enticing: Ratzlaff and Komarov.
With so much attention on the Sabres and their AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans, it’s understandable as to why most of those in the junior leagues often get lost in the mix. But Ratzlaff and Komarov are a pair of players who could demand your attention more than the others this season.
Pair of Buffalo Sabres junior league prospects will be fun to watch
Scott Ratzlaff is incredibly enticing, and I’ve written about him a few times this past summer. But for 2023-24, he should be the main man in the net for the Seattle Thunderbirds, and man, will he look good. Ratzlaff will build on his 2022-23 season, despite the rocky start to 2023-24 in which he posted just a 0.739 save percentage and a 9.00 GAA in Seattle’s loss to the Portland Winterhawks.
But hey, even Devon Levi toiled through a couple of bad games at Northeastern last season, so it won’t deter me from the 0.920 save percentage and 2.10 GAA I’m boldly projecting here. Meanwhile, Vsevolod Komarov will hit the 50-point mark with the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts after he totaled 39 points last season, a 20-point increase from his numbers in 2021-22.
You will see Komarov enhance his defensive game for sure, but his points production will make him one of the most exciting defensemen to watch this season in the QMJHL. Look for Komarov to take over a few games in what should be his final season in the QMJHL.
(Statistics provided by Elite Prospects)