An independent pro scouting company, with ties to the NHL, shares Buffalo fans’ expectations that Devon Levi is the Buffalo Sabres’ long-term solution in goal.
Team 33 ranks players based on algorithm that analyzes players by assigning point values to them based on a number of factors, including in-person scouting. Some NHL teams use Team 33’s system for added evaluation of players and to analyze potential trades. Team 33 even assigns values of future draft picks based on several factors, including the strength of the draft class.
The idea for Team 33 was created by former New York Islanders, Florida Panthers and Nashville Predators assistant general manager Mike Santos. He worked with former NHL scout Rick Knickle to make it happen. Knickle is a former pro goalie and spent 17 years as an NHL scout
Under the Team 33 system, a player with an 856-993 rating is already an elite player. A player in the 596-711 range is a top line line forward, top pairing defenseman, a starting goalie or close to becoming that. Players in the 500-595 range have second or third line potential or are second pairing defensemen.
Here are Team 33’s top five highest-rated Buffalo prospects:
1. Juri Kulich (566)
Notes: Late first-round pick, 6’1″ draft pick, 200-foot player, solid skater, good shooter with scoring touch, producing in the AHL (24 goals in 62 games), only 19.
Projection: Middle six forward, just below a top line performer.
2. Mathew Savoie (556)
Notes: Top 10 overall draft pick, 5’10” Center / Wing, dynamic speed and puck-handling ability, was big scorer at all levels, was top Western Canadian 2005 birth year bantam with Connor Bedard.
Projection: Middle six forward
3. Devon Levi (552)
Notes: Seventh round draft pick by Florida, acquired from Panthers, 6’2″ goalie with hybrid style, top college performer, turned pro this season, great athletic ability, tracks the puck well, played seven games for Buffalo this season.
Projection: Buffalo’s No. 1 goalie “going forward”
4. Noah Ostlund (509)
Notes: First round draft pick, average size/left shot center, very competitive/high speed style of player, smooth skater with solid offensive production.
Projection: Middle six forward.
5. Isak Rosen (486)
Notes: Top 15 pick, 6-foot average size left-shot right wing, just finished first AHL year, smooth skating, hands guy, more cerebral than physical, sees the ice well, can make plays.
Projection: Third line / Offense will determine if he’s middle six.