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:
#19 Viktor Neuchev
The Sabres had 11 picks in the 2022 Draft and continued their trend of going heavy on European prospects with the selection of Russian winger Viktor Neuchev. Neuchev was the Sabres third-round selection (74th overall) in Montreal after scoring 40 goals for the KHL’s Avtomobilist Yekaterinberg’s junior-level MHL. The 19-year-old winger was promoted to the minor league level VHL for a short stint last season, before being promoted to the KHL. In 57 games, the 5’11”, 165 lb. winger scored 12 points (4 goals, 8 assists).
Unlike some of the other European prospects they have in their portfolio, Buffalo opted to sign Neuchev to an entry-level deal in May. The Sabres plan is to bring the young winger over to play in Rochester and become acclimated to the North American game, as they did with 2021 second-rounder Aleksandr Kisakov last season.
One-man show from Viktor Neuchev pic.twitter.com/rZCPK2pTLk
— The Charging Buffalo (@TheChargingBUF) July 6, 2023
Hockey Prospect.com’s Black Book describes Neuchev as showing “a better understanding of how to stay in motion, seamlessly maintaining his stride as he works in unison with his hands. His playmaking, and willingness to attack angles in high danger areas, and un-telegraphed, yet inventive thinking make it very difficult for defences to adjust to his game.” The young Russian is “not the most precise shooter or technically gifted shooter in some areas though. He’s a shot-generation machine, who had some of the highest shot rates out of any draft-eligible player (in 2022).”