5 – Nikita Novikov
Once Nikita Novikov adjusts to the speed of the game, his development will skyrocket. That will come in due course this season, as the rook proved to be a good puck mover and passer. Novikov also disrupted plays well when he didn’t have the puck, and he showed us at times he’s ahead of the development curve.
However, he isn’t the type of player that will debut any time soon, and if it happens this year, it would be a one-off late in the season if the Buffalo Sabres need a blueliner to step in. The odds of that happening are between slim and none, but he showed us enough to at least throw around the idea.
Verdict: Does not debut
Overall, I’m not incredibly optimistic that we will see many names debuting out of Rochester this season, but that’s good news if you’re a Buffalo Sabres fan. The more talented the big club is, the better the odds of the prospects yet to debut have to fine-tune their respective games, which organically leads to long-term success.
Source: Jiri Kulich, Isak Rosen among Sabres prospects in Rochester pushing to reach NHL by Lance Lysowski, Buffalo News