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:
#2 Jiri Kulich
The Sabres have to be mildly and pleasantly surprised that the final of their three first-round picks in 2022 has had the most precipitous rise in prominence. That is not to say that Matthew Savoie and Noah Ostlund are not promising and will be in the NHL within a couple years, but after one season, Jiri Kulich has overtaken them.
— American Hockey League (@TheAHL) May 18, 2023
Kulich was selected 28th overall at the NHL Draft in Montreal after playing a full season at the pro level in Czechia with Karlovy Vary and was able to come to North America and play in the AHL as an 18-year-old. Amerks head coach Seth Appert indicated the importance of playing at both ends of the ice, something that the youngster struggled with at first but improved on as his rookie season progressed.
Scoring was not an issue either at the international level or as a pro, as Kulich was lights out at the 2023 IIHF World Juniors with seven goals, and as a rookie with Rochester, he scored 24 goals in 62 games during the regular season, and seven goals in the Amerks run to the Calder Cup Eastern Conference Final. The 19-year-old put on 16 pounds over the summer in hopes of making the NHL out of training camp, but he is young enough to play in another World Junior this December and faces a potential roadblock in Savoie, who cannot play in the AHL this season.