The Buffalo Sabres have a promising future. It may not look like it now, but there are quite a few players that have the potential to become huge stars in the NHL. After the team traded Jack Eichel, many believed the Sabres would not become a playoff team for at least another five years. Fans should think again, the future is bright in Buffalo. We break down the top five best players who are under 23-years-old.
5. Jack Quinn
Jack Quinn is a 20-year-old phenom with a wicked snapshot. Drafted 8th overall in the 2020 NHL Draft, he is starting to turn heads with his play in Rochester. Currently, he has 35 points in just 24 games with the Americans, which averages out to 1.46 P/G. His play in the AHL had earned him a call-up with the Sabres, and he made his pro debut on Jan. 20th against the Dallas Stars. He fit right in with the Sabres and even scored a power-play goal, the first of his career. Unfortunately, he suffered an injury during the game and has not played since. Another victim of the injury-riddled season the team is having. Quinn is going to be a top-six forward in the future, there is no question about it. He has made a tremendous leap in the past year, and he is only going to get better. I can see him on a line with either Dylan Cozens or Peyton Krebs, we will get to both soon enough.
4. Owen Power
With the first pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, the Sabres selected Owen Power from Michigan. Power is a stud defenseman who will create an immediate impact when he is officially on the Sabres roster. The whole organization and its fans are ready for this man to join the team.
Standing at 6-foot-5 weighing 214 lbs, he is a force to be reckoned with on the blue line. Power currently has 26 points in 24 games for the Wolverines, but it is now taking time away from the squad to represent Team Canada in this year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing. It is almost certain that Power will be joining the Sabres next year, which will significantly help the team’s situation on defence. Power might even make his professional debut in April depending on Michigan’s results in the Frozen Four. “I don’t want to get ahead of it because I think it’s important for him to stay present and stay in the moment of what he’s doing and what he’s focused on,” Sabres GM Kevyn Adams said. “And I don’t want in any way to be a distraction from that.”
Sabres fans should truly be excited about Owen Power, he is going to be a game-changer for the next 10-15 years.
3. Peyton Krebs
Recently acquired in the Jack Eichel trade, Peyton Krebs is already making a clear impact for the Sabres. At just 21-years-old, it looks like Krebs will be on the team full-time for the rest of the season. The centre spent just a few games in Rochester before being called up and has already had more success on the Sabres than he had with the Golden Knights.
Krebs played 10 games for the Sabres and has five points, compared to nine games and zero points with the Knights this season. This is another player who can easily be a top-six forward for the Sabres in the future, as I said earlier, he would work well with Quinn. Krebs seems to mesh well in the locker room and he seems happy to be in Buffalo along with Alex Tuch, who was also acquired in the Eichel trade. It looks like the front office got this trade right and the team might even come on top as the “winner” of the trade. I do not want to get ahead of myself, but Krebs just might become the team’s top centreman. The front office should take care of the young star.
2. Dylan Cozens
Dylan Cozens is just 20-years-old and has already gained a leadership presence in the Sabres locker room. You would think he is already a “seasoned pro” with his mentality. The Sabres drafted Cozens with the seventh pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, and some might say that it was the “steal” of the draft.
If I were to pick the future captain of the Sabres, it would be either Cozens or Rasmus Dahlin. The “C” would look great on either one of them, and I consider them both to be strong locker room leaders. Cozens has 21 points in 41 games, which is already more than last year’s 13 points in 41 games. The best part is that Cozens still has the rest of the season to play. This is a significant improvement and he is only going to get better with time. He loves Buffalo and wants to stick around for a long time. It will be interesting to see what kind of extension he is going to get, he deserves a raise and he should get a long-term deal. If the future first-line centre isn’t Krebs, it will be Cozens.
1. Rasmus Dahlin
This is a no-brainer, Dahlin is easily the most valuable asset in the Sabres organization. Now that Eichel is no longer the team’s “superstar,” it is certain that Dahlin will take over that role. The Swedish defenseman has 28 points in 43 games and is already an assistant captain. The game seems effortless to him, his skating is so pure and his puck-handling is elite. He even played a couple of games as a forward last year, that’s how good he is. He is the type of player that makes everyone around him better, and he is going to be in the Norris Trophy conversation for years to come. Like I said earlier, I would pick either Dahlin or Cozens to become the new captain of the Sabres. There is not much else to say about Dahlin that hasn’t already been said. All we have to do is sit back, and enjoy watching him play.
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Joe is a Buffalo Sabres Contributor for THW who recently received his bachelor’s degree at SUNY Fredonia. He is new to the world of sports media but is extremely eager to make an impact with his writing. Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, he is an avid Sabres fan, and has been following them all of his life.