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:
#36 Joel Ratkovic-Berndtsson
The Sabres had 11 picks at the 2022 NHL Draft in Montreal and late on Day 2, they selected Swedish prospects with their last three choices. In the seventh round, they took a pair of forwards, Joel Ratkovic-Berndtsson 202nd overall and Linus Sjodin 211th overall.
Ratkovic-Berndtsson came out of the Vastra Frolunda system and was selected after scoring 49 points (22 goals, 27 assists) in 47 games for their junior-level squad. In his second season, he scored 20 goals in 34 games and earned a promotion to SHL for eight games and was loaned out to Ostersunds IK of the second-level Allsvenskan.
Nice goal from Joel Ratkovic Berndtsson to win it for Team Robert. pic.twitter.com/Z4FRliakDC
— The Charging Buffalo (@TheChargingBUF) July 6, 2023
Ratkovic Berndtsson “hustles and tries to play the game at a decent pace. He is not the fastest skater on the ice but he works hard to overcome this and has become a valuable asset during puck battles and on the forecheck.” Dobber Prospects said of the Sabres prospect in 2022. “His aggression and mobility are positives in many ways but ultimately it needs some refining.”
As with Sjodin, JRB is a long-term prospect that will be allowed to play multiple seasons in the SHL while the Sabres monitor and evaluate his progress before deciding whether to sign him to an entry-level deal.