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:
#27 Matteo Costantini
The Sabres had only five picks in the 2020 NHL Draft held in October because of the COVID pandemic, but have reaped the rewards with first-rounder Jack Quinn and second-rounder J.J. Peterka. In the fifth round, new GM Kevyn Adams opted for familiarity by selecting Matteo Costantini from the Buffalo Jr. Sabres. The St. Catharines, ON native, scored 68 points (36 goals, 32 assists) in 50 games for the Jr. Sabres. Costantini committed to play for the University of North Dakota, so he spent the following season playing in the USHL for Sioux City, where he scored 22 points in 37 games.
Matteo Costantini caps off North Dakota's 4-3 exhibition win over the USA U18s with this pretty OT goal. pic.twitter.com/igJfd0DcTo
— Kris Baker (@SabresProspects) January 1, 2023
Hockey Prospect’s Black Book said of Costantini in his draft year “There’s a maturity to him off the puck and a high level of commitment when physically looking to engage that was noticeable during the OJHL playoffs. His effort and competitiveness give him a decent floor, and his speed and shot are threatening enough to think that with the right development, there’s an outside chance he can fit at the bottom of a line-up.”
The transition to the NCAA appeared fairly smooth in spite of shifting from center to wing, as the youngster scored 21 points (8 goals, 13 assists) in 35 games, but things fell apart as a sophomore, as Costantini’s number dropped to three points (2 goals, 1 assist) in 25 games and he was a healthy scratch in the college playoffs. The 21-year-old used the option of the NCAA transfer portal and is moving to Western Michigan University, where he hopes to get back on track.