With the Sabres off to a rocky start this season Sabres fans are already looking to next season so here’s the latest on the top prospects from the Sabres prospect pool.
Brendan Guhle, D, Rochester Americans (AHL)
Guhle got off to a slow start with the Amerks but has really kicked it into gear as of late, scoring back-to-back multi point outings in his last two games. Through 11 games played in the AHL this season Guhle has recorded two goals and six assists for eight total points.
Guhle’s play hasn’t gone unnoticed as Sabreland is begging for him to be recalled so they can get a look at him on the NHL level. Hopefully we will get our wish and see him in a Sabres jersey soon because the lineup needs an injection of youth desperately.
Casey Mittelstadt, C, Minnesota (NCAA)
Mittelstadt is the crown jewel of the Sabres prospect pool and is a huge reason to be excited going forward. After seeing all his dazzling highlights it’s tough not to think about how Mittelstadt and Eichel will look on a line together soon.
Mittelstadt has lived up to all the hype in the NCAA recording three goals and six assists for nine points in nine games. He has the Gophers at No. 3 in the nation and thinking about National Championship possibilities. His play this season has been outstanding and it isn’t unrealistic to think that Buffalo will sign him the second his NCAA season comes to an end in the spring.
Will Borgen, D, St. Cloud State (NCAA)
Borgen and the Huskies are off to a hot start, they are 7-0-0 and are the number one ranked team in the NCAA. Borgen has been a big help, recording six assists in the even games and is already halfway to his point total from all last season in which he played 33 games.
Borgen is an risky prospect because he’s close to the end of his NCAA eligibility and approaching the “Vesey” stage where he can become a free agent, but with the Sabres lack of depth on the blueline Botterill needs to try and get this kid signed so we can add another stud D into our prospect pool.
Casey Fitzgerald, D, Boston College (NCAA)
Fitzgerald the Captain of Boston College is enjoying some nice success at the start of his Junior season. Through nine games played Fitzgerald has three goals and three assists for six points. The 3rd round pick from 2016 will have to continue to be a key contributor this season if Boston College is to turn their season around.
Rasmus Asplund, C, Farjestad BK (SHL)
Asplund does all the little things right and is a very solid prospect, behind Mittlestadt he is the second ranked center prospect in the organization. Will Asplund be a high-level point producer? No, but he will be able to chip in offensively while shutting down the opponents’ top tier centers.
Asplund has played 17 games for Farjestad this season scoring three goals and adding six assists for nine points. Asplund is also on the Olympic radar for Team Sweden which would be a huge honor and developmental opportunity for the Sabres prospect.
Next season will likely be Asplund’s first season in North America and depending on what the Sabres do with Larsson and Girgensons Asplund could have a shot at being the Sabres’ third line center next season.
Cliff Pu, C, London Knights (OHL)
Cliff Pu, much like the entire London Knights team got off to a slow start but in the last little while Pu has turned it on and has been putting up points. In his last five games Pu has scored four points bringing his total to 12 points (4G,8A) in 16 games played for London.
Pu also recently signed his entry level deal with the Sabres and since he was the last Junior eligible player with the Sabres at camp this season I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes a push for the roster next season.
Marcus Davidsson, C, Djurgardens IF (SHL)
Davidsson is another speedy two-way forward that the Sabres have in their prospect pool, he can play both up the middle and on the wing showing his versatility. Davidsson can also chip in on the offensive side when needed, scoring four points in three games in the J20 league in Sweden and adding a goal and four assists for five points in 14 SHL games.
Sabres fans should watch for Davidsson because there is a high chance he will be playing for Sweden at the World Juniors in Buffalo this year.
CJ Smith, LW, Rochester Americans (AHL)
Smith is another AHL player who deserves another look at the NHL level. Smith is often forgotten about when it comes to the Sabres future youth movement but he is showing that he shouldn’t be. Through 11 games Smith has 10 points with the Amerks and looks like a very good prospect going forward.
Smith has speed and offensive talent that the Sabres desperately need in their bottom six forwards and most agree would be a better option than say Jordan Nolan or Matt Moulson as a regular in the Sabres lineup. If Smith continues his impressive play in the AHL he’ll be tough to ignore as the season continues.
Victor Olofsson, RW, Frolunda HC (SHL)
Olofsson has been a stud for Frolunda so far, this season, he has been an excellent offensive option for the team and has constantly shown off his excellent shot. Through his 16 games he has scored seven goals and added five assists for 12 points.
He has been criticized about his small stature but Olofsson has battled through it and looks like an excellent prospect. At 22 he is older than your average prospect but Olofsson deserves a shot with the Sabres organization and hopefully will be coming to North America next year.
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, G, LeKi (Mestis)
Luukkonen has been very impressive as an 18-year-old goalie playing in the second highest league in Finland. He has been in 11 games and posted a .903 SV% and a 3.18 GAA so far this season.
He is a big bodied goalie who looks like he can be the goalie of the future in Buffalo, his size and athleticism make him the second-best goalie prospect behind Linus Ullmark.
At 18 there is no rush to get Luukkonen over to North America but I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the jump to Rochester as a 20 or 21-year-old. Luukkonen is a viable option for Finland at the World Juniors this year and if he makes it he could earn some starts and possibly steak Finland a game or two at the tournament.
Alex Nylander, RW, Rochester Americans (AHL)
Alex Nylander has resumed skating and hopefully will be playing for Rochester soon, if Nylander shows excellent progress from his injury and from his play last season Sabres fans will be demanding that he is in the NHL lineup soon and I agree. It is very evident that the Sabres need a youth movement in their lineup to keep up with the new NHL and hopefully Botterill can make it happen before it’s too late.
Follow @SabresFanatics and @austin_broad for more updates on the Sabres farm system throughout the season.
*stats provided by EliteProspects.com