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:
#8 Lukas Rousek
The Sabres may see their long-range development plans pay off in the form of an NHL contributor as soon as this season in the form of winger Lukas Rousek, who could be in the mix to replace the injured Jack Quinn with a good performance at training camp starting next week. Rousek was selected in the sixth round of the 2019 NHL Draft by former GM Jason Botterill as a 20-year-old overager after playing two seasons for Sparta Praha of the Czech League.
While there may have been plans to bring the young forward to North America sooner, the COVID-19 pandemic and the AHL being limited in 2020-21 kept Rousek in Czechia where he could develop and play full-time. This proved beneficial, as the young winger posted a career-high 38 points and signed a two-year entry-level deal with the Sabres after his year in Europe was completed.
First NHL game, first NHL shift, first NHL goal for Lukas Rousek! ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/IJBCG2xwTg
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) March 27, 2023
His first season in North America was nearly over before it started, as Rousek suffered an ACL injury prior to training camp and did not return to action with Rochester until late March, playing 19 games and scoring just four points (1 goal, 3 assists). Fully healthy last season, the 24-year-old’s playmaking ability was on full display, as he led the Amerks in assists (40) and points (56), and added 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) in the Calder Cup Playoffs. Based on his ability to set up linemates, Rousek could be a good fit replacing Quinn on a line with J-J Peterka and Dylan Cozens, and his waiver-exempt status would allow him to shuttle