Sabres MVP leads the Top 24 and under rankings following a turbulent season

A few of the Buffalo Sabres four best players in the Top 24 and under rankings could be cornerstones of what is still a young team for 2024-25.
Ottawa Senators v Buffalo Sabres
Ottawa Senators v Buffalo Sabres / Kevin Hoffman/GettyImages
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2 - JJ Peterka, W/Sabres

JJ Peterka is your Breakout Player of the Year, and he’s someone I would have projected to have finished the season in Tier II of these rankings back in October. But few on the Sabres - either in the 24 and under crowd or those 25 and older, enjoyed a better season. 

You would have thought one of the Sabres three highest scorers from a season ago would have led the team in goals scored for most of the year. But the honor fell to Peterka before Tage Thompson finally started playing like Tage Thompson again and edged out the second-year pro with 29 goals scored. Still, Peterka ended up taking second with 28 goals, and once he gets more consistent taking shots, there is little doubt he will end up scoring 30-plus. 

That said, he played consistently enough for the Sabres to trust him with nearly three minutes more ice time than he had in 2022-23. Like Quinn, the stronger Peterka gets, the more physical play you will see and the more value he provides defensively, and it resulted in 17 more takeaways this season. 

Many fans will be watching Peterka closely when he enters his age-23 year, and although we saw many Sabres take a step back this past season, Peterka should be fine if his linemates are out there returning to form and playing their best hockey.