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:
#31 Scott Ratzlaff
The Sabres have a young group of goaltenders in the organization, including 21-year-old Devon Levi and 24-year-old Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen as potentially the youngest tandem in the NHL next season experienced depth in Rochester with Dustin Tokarski and Eric Comrie, and a young prospect in 2022 second-rounder Topias Leinonen, but that did not stop GM Kevyn Adams from choosing Seattle Thunderbirds goalie Scott Ratzlaff in the 5th round of the 2023 Draft in Nashville.
Ratzlaff played well for a loaded Seattle squad last season (25-8-1, 2.15 GAA, .918 save percentage) splitting time with Winnipeg prospect Thomas Milic and will likely get most of the starts for the Thunderbirds this season with Milic potentially graduating to the American Hockey League.
📽️ HIGHLIGHT REEL 📽️
— The WHL (@TheWHL) June 28, 2023
“We know how good he is and what he’s capable of. He just continued our string of great goaltending. Regardless of who was in the net, we had great goaltending.” Seattle head coach Matt O’Dette said to Lance Lysowski of the Buffalo News last month. He saw Thomas was going to be away (to play for Canada in the World Juniors) and wanted to prove that the team wouldn’t skip a beat with him in the net. So, that’s precisely what he did. Scott really earned the games that he got.”
Projections for the 2024 IIHF World Junior have Ratzlaff potentially as part of Canada’s tandem for the 2024 World Junior in Sweden this December.