It's time for a position-by-position breakdown of the Buffalo Sabres roster to get a complete picture of the players and talent in the organization from top to bottom.

General manager Kevyn Adams shed some light on the team's offseason plans on Thursday, giving us a clearer picture of where players stand in the organization. There are sure to be a lot of transactions in the coming weeks as the NHL Draft, free agency and potential transfers loom. It's important to understand where the current roster and pool of young players stand so we can anticipate the areas that need to be addressed.



  • Days Thompson
  • Dylan Cozens
  • Peyton Krebs [RFA]

In the system

  • Matthew Savoie
  • Jiri Kulich
  • Noah Östlund
  • Anton Wahlberg
  • Tyson Kozak

Unsigned draft

  • Matteo Costantini
  • William of Barnekow
  • Gustav Karlsson
  • Linus Sjodin

The glaring gap at center is an NHL center who can alternate with Dylan Cozens on the second or third line. Casey Mittelstadt has been offensively gifted in that role, but the Sabres will likely be looking for someone more defensively responsible to complete the lineup this offseason.

Savoie, Kulich and Ostlund are all close to being NHL ready and have the option to start next season in Rochester. Savoie or Kulich could also move to the wing, either temporarily or permanently.

Wahlberg is the fourth center prospect in the system with NHL potential and is much bigger than the former first-rounders before him. He will continue to utilize his skills and ultimately bring a different dynamic to the Sabres.

Related: Sabres want Cates, not Laughton from Flyers

Left wing


  • JJ Peterka
  • Zach Benson
  • Jeff Skinner
  • Jordan Greenway

In the system

  • Alexander Kisakov
  • Viktor Neuchev

Unsigned draft

  • Prokar Poltapov
  • Ethan Miedema

Peterka established himself as the team's best left wing last season, displacing Skinner from Thompson's line. Benson showed incredible versatility and promise in his rookie season and has arguably surpassed Skinner as well.

This has led to recent speculation about an impending buyout of the Sabres' highest-paid forward in order to better distribute his salary. If Skinner can regain his scoring instincts, he is one of the most valuable players in the league. If he is stuck on the third line again given his defensive issues, there are better candidates on the open market.

Kisakov and Neuchev showed some good signs in Rochester and are developing into NHL prospects. Poltapov, whom Adams mentioned on Thursday, will stay in Russia until his contract expires. He was selected ahead of Kisakov and the Sabres still think highly of him.

Miedema also deserves a mention as he is a talented big forward who should be signed soon. In terms of quality, the Sabres are strong on the left wing.

Must read: The Sabres could use a Matt Rempe

Right wing


In the system

  • Isak Rosen
  • Lukas Rousek
  • Olivier Nadeau

Unsigned draft

  • Stiven Sardarian
  • Aaron Huglen
  • Jake Richard
  • Joel Ratkovic Berndtsson

With only two right wingers on the NHL roster, there is room for reinforcements on the right side. Rosen and Rousek (both left-handed shooters) were called up but didn't show enough to prove they are ready to take on an everyday role. Savoie is a right-handed shooter who could move to the wing if he proves he is ready in training camp.

Last season, Nadeau played primarily for Buffalo's ECHL affiliate Jacksonville. He will look to transition into a full-time position in the AHL and prove he still has potential. If he develops the power forward qualities the Sabres recognized when he was signed, it should improve his prospects on the right wing.

Sardarian is less like the Sabres' other Russian prospects in that he is in the NCAA. So is Hughlen, as his long road to his final season as a 2019 fourth-round draft pick takes shape. Richards' strong freshman season in the NCAA arguably catapults him ahead of the two unsigned prospects, despite being a sixth-round pick.

Must read: Sabres draft Marner, not Eichel in 2015 redraft

Left defense


  • Rasmus Dahlin
  • Owen Kraft
  • Bowen Byram
  • Mattias Samuelsson
  • Ryan Johnson
  • Jacob Bryson [RFA]

In the system

  • Kale Clague [RFA]
  • Nikita Novikov
  • Sjalin Street [RFA]

Unsigned draft

  • Sean Keohane
  • Norwin Panocha

The Sabres have a lot of left-handed players on defense, which is a luxury since Dahlin, Byram and Samuelsson can regularly move to the right side. Johnson's promise in his rookie season puts him ahead of Bryson, whose contract status is uncertain.

Clague's status is also uncertain, as the Sabres could look elsewhere to fill out the organization's roster. Novikov is the only promising left defenseman in the pool, which represents a potential area of ​​need in the upcoming draft.

With Dahlin, Power and Samuelsson under long-term contracts, there is no need to worry about the number of young players at the backend position being thin.

Related: Why the Sabres win the Mittelstadt trade

Proper defense


  • Henri Jokiharju [RFA]
  • Connor Clifton

In the system

Unsigned draft

  • Maxim Strbak
  • Gavin McCarthy

Speaking of weaknesses on defense, the Sabres have just five right-handed shooters on the roster. That's if Jokiharju extends his contract, which is expected after his best season in Buffalo. Clifton has proven to be a pure third-line defenseman, which leaves room for a lineup addition if Sabres management so desires.

Despite being the only other right defenseman under contract, Komarov is coming off an incredible season in the QMJHL. He was named Defenseman of the Year after scoring 69 points in 60 games for the Quebec Remparts and Drummondville Voltigeurs, and also won the Guy Lafleur Trophy as playoff MVP. He will look to translate his puck skills to the AHL while rounding out his defensive game.

Strbak and McCarthy are both developing in the NCAA but are expected to eventually sign with Buffalo as second-round and third-round picks, respectively.



  • Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen [RFA]
  • Devon Levi

In the system

Unsigned draft

  • Scott Ratzlaff
  • Topias Leinonen

The club desperately needs a goalkeeper, but not necessarily a big club. Luukkonen is expected to extend his contract shortly and will form a very young but talented goalkeeping duo with Levi.

Ratzlaff and Leinonen have not yet signed contracts and are not expected to play in Rochester next season, leaving the Sabres in the hunt for a third, fourth and fifth goalie to complete the roster and man the net in Rochester.

The organization's third goalie could prove invaluable if Adams follows recent trends in the NHL. Alex Lyon scored in Detroit after starting as the team's third goalie. New Jersey was in dire need of a good goalie, so they were only fourth in their rankings. Injuries catapulted Arturs Silovs into the playoffs for Vancouver, and he kept goal ahead of backup Casey DeSmith.

Must read: 3 key insights from Adams and Forton Presser

Sabres depth chart

To get a complete picture of the organization, here is a table with the Buffalo Sabres' full roster. Adjustments will be made after the offseason dust settles, as the draft and free agency begin in the coming weeks.

center Left wing Right wing Left defense Proper defense goalkeeper
Days Thompson JJ Peterka Alex Tuch Rasmus Dahlin Henri Jokiharju Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen
Dylan Cozens Zach Benson Jack Quinn Owen Kraft Connor Clifton Devon Levi
Peyton Krebs Jeff Skinner Isak Rosen Bowen Byram Vsevolod Komarov Scott Ratzlaff
Matthew Savoie Jordan Greenway Lukas Rousek Mattias Samuelsson Maxim Strbak Topias Leinonen
Jiri Kulich Alexander Kisakov Olivier Nadeau Ryan Johnson Gavin McCarthy
Noah Östlund Viktor Neuchev Stiven Sardarian Jacob Bryson
Anton Wahlberg Prokar Poltapov Aaron Huglen Kale Clague
Tyson Kozak Ethan Miedema Jake Richard Nikita Novikov
Matteo Costantini Joel Ratkovic Berndtsson Sjalin Street
William of Barnekow Sean Keohane
Gustav Karlsson Norwin Panocha
Linus Sjodin

Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *