In this edition of Buffalo Sabres News & Rumors, we’ll discuss prospects Peyton Krebs, JJ Peterka and Arttu Ruotsalainen, who earned a callup to the NHL, and Sabres fans could get a glimpse of the future when the trio take the ice in Buffalo, possibly as soon as Wednesday.
Krebs Prepares for Sabres Debut as Main Prospect in Eichel Trade
On Tuesday, the Sabres called Krebs up from the Rochester Americans in the AHL. The 20-year-old forward, drafted 17th overall by the Vegas Golden Knights at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, was the main prospect in the trade that sent Jack Eichel to Vegas. In 16 games with the Americans this season, Krebs has 14 points (four goals, 10 assists).
After Krebs’ trade to Buffalo, Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams had this to say about the young forward: “This is all about the long term and about building this and about developing this the right way,” Adams told NHL.com. “He’s a really good hockey player right now, and we’re excited about the hockey player he’s going to become over time, and that’s our focus. When it’s the right time, he’ll be here, and he’ll be here for a long time.”
Now might be the right time for Krebs to don the royal blue and gold. In nine NHL games with the Golden Knights earlier this season, he had no points, and in 2019-20, he tallied an assist in four games. He will look to score his first big-league goal as one of Buffalo’s newest and most promising players.
Peterka Set to Make NHL Debut Following Success in AHL
Peterka has raised eyebrows with the Americans this season, scoring 20 points (four goals, 16 assists) in 23 games. The German forward was selected 34th overall by the Sabres in the second round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. He played the 2020-21 season in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) and tied for sixth in goals among EHC Red Bull München with nine, and scored 20 points in 30 games.
Peterka participated at his first NHL training camp after he tied for third in points at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship with 10 points (four goals, six assists) in five games for Team Germany. He did not make the roster out of camp and was sent to Rochester for further development. But now he appears he’s ready to make his NHL debut.
“At first, I was like a little bit sad that I didn’t make the team,” Peterka told NHL.com. “But I took that as a learning process, and we have a great coaching staff down there in Rochester. So, I think I really improved there. I think it was a big step for me to go down and have big minutes there.”
Ruotsalainen Returns to the Sabres Lineup After Stint in AHL
After tallying four points (two goals, two assists) in 16 games with the Sabres this season, Ruotsalainen was sent to Rochester in the AHL. In six games with the Americans, he scored two assists. The 24-year-old is now back with the big club to try and solidify his spot in Buffalo’s lineup going forward.
Ruotsalainen played his first NHL games with the Sabres last season, scoring six points (five goals, one assist) in 17 games. He also played 13 games with the Americans in 2020-21, tallying 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in 13 games. Now that he’s been called up to Buffalo, he will look to prove he’s ready for full-time NHL duties. If he can maintain his offensive output in the NHL and find consistency, he very well may have played his final game in the AHL.
Krebs, Peterka and Ruosalainen are expected to be in the Sabres’ lineup when they host the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET. Buffalo is looking to keep their playoff hopes alive, sitting eight points out of a wild-card spot with 52 games remaining in the regular season.
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Tom Pepper is a diehard Montréal Canadiens fan, writing NHL and IIHF content at The Hockey Writers since 2020.