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:
#11 Jake Richard
The Sabres had 11 picks at the 2022 NHL Draft in Montreal and they went heavy on forwards, selecting three centers (Matthew Savoie, Noah Ostlund, and Jiri Kulich) in the first round, Russian winger Viktor Neuchev in the third round, and four forwards in the final two rounds. Sixth-round selection Jake Richard is an intriguing long-range project who flashed some impressive skills at the club’s rookie development camp in July.
Richard is from Jacksonville, FL, and played hockey as a youth in the Sunshine State until he shifted to the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks, where he scored 48 points (18 goals, 30 assists) before being selected 170th overall by Buffalo. The 19-year-old winger made a sizable jump in his second USHL season, increasing his goal total to 31 with Muskegon and Tri-City last season.
Jake Richard accepts the turnover from the Dubuque netminder and gets a good bounce for his second goal of the night. That's the second goal scored from beneath the goal line today by a Sabres prospect. pic.twitter.com/2YdeZwVGPU
— Kris Baker (@SabresProspects) November 19, 2022
Hockey Prospect.com’s Black Book says “the best thing Richard has going for him is his shot and his work near the net. He has the ability to score from mid-range….he’s a smart player who anticipates well all over the ice. His puck poise and patience in high-traffic areas, especially in the lowest layer of the offensive zone, is impressive”, but his “speed, the edge work, and a profound lack of explosivity are really tough to look past and that it needs to really improve in order for him to have a shot at the NHL.”
Richard is heading to the University of Connecticut this fall, but his performance at the Sabres rookie camp displayed some intriguing potential that could be honed over the next three or four years in the NCAA.