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Buffalo Sabres Top Prospects – #39: Norwin Panocha



The Buffalo Sabres have drafted and developed a number of youngsters currently playing in the NHL (Rasmus Dahlin, Owen Power, Dylan Cozens), and the club under former GM Jason Botterill and current GM Kevyn Adams have been able to replenish the organization with young prospects. Throughout the month of August and leading into training camp next month, we will rank the club’s top prospects over the upcoming weeks based on their progress in either the NCAA, CHL, Europe, ECHL or AHL and their potential to make the Sabres roster and make a contribution in the future. Players are eligible for the list if they have not played more than 40 NHL games and are 25 years old or younger:

#39 Norwin Panocha

The Buffalo Sabres made eight picks at the 2023 NHL Draft in Nashville and with their final selection in the seventh round, they took defenseman Norwin Panocha 205th overall.  The 6’1″, 185 lb. blueliner played at the junior level and two professional levels in Germany last season and scored two goals at the 2023 U-18 World Juniors.

Sabres General Manager Kevyn Adams (according to Lance Lysowski of the Buffalo News) that Sabres Eastern European scout Frank Musil pushed the club to use its seventh-round pick on the German defenseman.


Panocha was expected to play in Germany again this season and is almost a shoo-in to play for Team Germany for the upcoming 2024 IIHF World Junior in Sweden, but he was selected 32nd overall in the CHL Import Draft by the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and according to a report in le Quotidien newspaper last month, the 18-year-old will be playing in North America this season.

“Every time you have the chance to add a player drafted by a National League team to your roster, you have to take advantage of it,” Chicoutimi GM Yanick Jean said about Panocha late last month. With our young defense, we wanted to make sure we had a player with us for a while, but who is not too young. He is a player who is ready to play in the defensive top-4 of any junior team. We were very, very happy to fish him out, and then to be able to bring him home.”