The Buffalo Sabres organization is stacked with highly regarded prospects and a reflection of that is how many are projected to be participating in the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden this upcoming December. The Athletic’s Corey Pronman believes that as many as five and possibly six Sabres prospects will make the rosters of Canada, Sweden, and Finland, with several in prominent roles.
The Team Canada projections have a pair of Sabres top picks; 2022 first-rounder Matthew Savoie and 2023 first-rounder Zach Benson, on the top line. Savoie and Benson were junior linemates for the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice last season. Benson will likely be headed back to the WHL after training camp, but Savoie is 19 and not old enough to play in the American Hockey League, so it is probable that he will see spot duty in the NHL, loaned to Rochester on conditioning stints during the first half of the regular season and then loaned to Team Canada in December.
Matthew Savoie intercepts and goes in for his fifth of the playoffs. Winnipeg leads Medicine Hat 3-1 to start the second period. pic.twitter.com/hxb7EO2b3Y
— Kris Baker (@SabresProspects) April 5, 2023
2023 fifth-rounder Scott Ratzlaff is projected to be Canada’s backup goaltender.
Sweden and Finland
Team Sweden is the host country and 2022 first-rounder Noah Ostlund is slotted to be the club’s top-line center, between Minnesota Wild first-rounder Liam Ohgren and Vancouver 2022 top pick and former Djergardens teammate Jonathan Lekkerimaki. Ostlund opted to remain in Sweden and shift to the SHL’s Vaxjo Lakers this season instead of heading to North America, and the location of the WJC this season and a potentially prominent role on Sweden’s squad may be the reasons why. 2023 second-rounder Anton Wahlberg played at the World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, MI last week and may make the squad as an extra forward due to his versatility of playing both center and wing.
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) May 1, 2022
2022 second-rounder Topias Leinonen is slated to be the backup goalie for Team Finland. The 19-year-old played for Finland at the Under-18s prior to being selected by the Sabres 41st overall in Montreal last year. He saw limited work in the Finnish SM-Liiga last season and is expected to see a greater workload for JyP this year.