The Buffalo Sabres wasted no time this Friday afternoon with their prospects, signing all three of their 1st round draft picks to their respective three-year, entry-level contracts. This included Matt Savoie (ninth overall), Noah Ostlund (16th overall), and Jiri Kulich (28th overall).
The Buffalo Sabres have signed forwards Jiri Kulich, Noah Ostlund and Matt Savoie to three-year, entry-level contracts. pic.twitter.com/39dknR8du4
— Sabres PR (@SabresPR) July 15, 2022
Buffalo Sabres Prospects Sign Deals
Forward Matthew Savoie, 9th overall in the 2022 NHL Draft, is coming off an impressive season with the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Winnipeg Ice. During the 20221-2022 WHL season, Savoie scored 35 goals with 55 assists in 65 games played. That is a rate of 1.38 PPG, and with that, lifted him to the top of WHL rookies in points. At 5′ 9′ and 179 pounds, he doesn’t provide much dominant presence on the ice in terms of size. However, just looking at his highlights, you can tell he is an elusive skater with great speed. His size might not lend himself to being too successful in faceoffs, but his production can make up for it on the wing. Buffalo can definitely use these skills, once further developed, on their roster.
Next with the 16th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, the Sabres selected Noah Ostlund. The Stockholm, Sweden native split his time with Djurgårdens IF between their Swedish Hockey League team and their J20 team. During his 11 games in the SHL, he did not record a point. However, with 32 games played on the J20 team in the 2021-2022 season, he tallied 9 goals, 33 assists and 42 total points. Ostlund is a decent catch: his production is average but his skating and the way he can move the puck show signs of being able to control a powerplay and be more dominant defensively. He will need some time for development but the 18-year-old does show a lot of promise for the future of the Sabres roster.
Last on the table for Buffalo’s first-round picks was Forward Jiri Kulich, who went 28th overall. The Kadan, Czech Republic, played 49 games with the HC Energie Karlovy Vary program in the Czechia premier league. During the 2021-2022 season, he scored 9 goals, chalked up 5 assists, and recorded 14 total points. He also notably represented his country well on the Czech Republic’s 2022 IIHF U18 World Championship team. Kulich boasts MVP status after finishing as the leading scorer in the tournament with 9 goals. In international play, has proven to be a solid 2-way center: can shine on the powerplay, displays solid positioning, and has shown leadership. However, strength will need to be improved upon to really hone in on those skills.
Sabres Look Ahead
Even with Savoie unable to participate in the development camp due to injury, Ostlund and Kulich have had a strong start. Michael Peca, AHL assistant coach and camp instructor, had nothing but good things to say when speaking to the media on Friday.
Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams expressed no issues with his draft selections taking the time they need to develop. During his presser to the media at the draft he stated, “We feel that we added some good talent to our lineup. And we’ll be patient. We’re not gonna be in a sport where we’re gonna rush anyone. We’re gonna let these guys develop”.
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