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:
#13 Prokhor Poltapov
The Sabres have the luxury of having their prospects overcook in the minors and in Europe over the next few years to mature and gain experience. The Sabres had 11 picks in the 2021 NHL Draft, including a pair of picks in the first three rounds. Owen Power stayed at Michigan after being selected first overall and joined Buffalo late in the season, first-rounder Isak Rosen and second-rounder Aleksandr Kisakov stayed another year in Europe before heading to North America and playing a full season in the AHL with Rochester, but second-rounder Prokhor Poltapov is playing another season or two in the KHL.
The St. Petersburg native was selected with the top pick on Day 2 of the draft after scoring 25 goals for CSKA Moscow’s junior-level squad and seven points for Russia at the IIHF World Junior under-18’s, one of the last international tournaments the country participated in before the IIHF banned them because of the war in Ukraine.
In 2021, Poltapov split time almost equally between the MHL, the second pro-level VHL and the KHL, and last season the 20-year-old played 56 KHL games, scoring 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists) in a depth role.
Prokhor Poltapov buries first of a season 🚨 pic.twitter.com/Nhf0w3MqMj
— KHL (@khl_eng) September 3, 2023
Hockey Prospect’s Black Book is admiring in their evaluation of the rugged winger:
“Poltapov will take the puck to the net with reckless abandon but has some controlled chaos in his puck-driving methods. He excels down low by having options when attempting to protect the puck, and by his tenacious relentless style of play when retrieving the puck. Although he’s not very big and has below-average height, he carries a thicker frame that helps him compensate, so that he can use his power-forward play style. He has excellent lower body and upper body strength needed to win board battles and he’s a player who can be relentless in puck pursuit situations. When he’s on, he’s a handful for any team to deal with.”