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:
#15 Maxim Strbak
The Sabres seemed to shift slightly from their high-skill and speed focus at the 2023 NHL Draft in Nashville after selecting Zach Benson in the first round, selecting big Swedish center Anton Wahlberg, and with their second pick in the second round, they chose Slovakian defenseman Maxim Strbak. The son of former NHLer Martin Strbak, the 6’2″, 205 lb. blueliner played his youth hockey in Finland and played internationally for his home country at the Under-18’s and World Junior last season. Prior to being selected 45th overall. Strbak shifted to North America, playing for Sioux Falls in the USHL and this year will play for Michigan State University.
Slovakia has tied this game up at one apiece.
— Steven Ellis (@SEllisHockey) August 4, 2021
“I’d say I model my game after Moritz Seider. I think he’s a bit more offensive than me,” Štrbák told EP Rinkside’s Russ Cohen. “There are some similarities, and he’s a very physical player. He can pass the puck up the ice offensively. He plays a really modern type of hockey, and I like to watch him. NHL teams like that as well.”
Hockey Prospect’s Black Book believes there is room for growth and improvement with the big blueliner, indicating that “Strbak is just a really inconsistent player”, who is “sometimes aggressively physical, sometimes not. Sometimes good at body positioning, sometimes not. Sometimes good shoulder squared-ness, sometimes not. It’s bizarre that it’s persisted and he’s existed like this all season…but it has.”
With the Sabres having offense on the back end covered for the foreseeable future, Strbak’s size, mobility, and two-way chops look to be a good compliment down the line to Rasmus Dahlin or Owen Power, but he is someone on the Sabres radar in three or four years.