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Biggest Stock Risers from Sabres Development Camp

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Buffalo Sabres development camp prospects tournament

Buffalo Sabres development camp concluded today with the three-on-three tournament, putting a cap on an overshadowed but fun week for the prospects. Without the household prospect names in the Sabres organization like Matthew Savoie, Noah Ostlund, Jiri Kulich, and Isak Rosen, the opportunity was there for lesser-known prospects to stand out. A handful of Sabres hopefuls did just that this week.

Konsta Helenius

2024 first-round draft pick Konsta Helenius was the center of attention all week. He did not disappoint, fully displaying his hockey sense, playmaking, and defensive prowess. While he wasn’t leaps and bounds ahead of the other prospects, he certainly controlled every drill, sequence, and shift throughout camp. Having the cameras on you at all times can lead to over-critiquing, but there was not much to pick apart from what Helenius showed.

Where Helenius plays this season is still in question, as Finland, Rochester, and even Buffalo are on the table. No matter where he ends up, the Finnish center will look to grow his game playing against men older than him. This will help make him a more complete player, developing his two-way game and contributing in more than just a scoring role.

As the top prospects always do, Helenius even provided a “wow” moment in the tournament’s shootout.

Brodie Ziemer

Buffalo’s third-round pick in 2024, Brodie Ziemer, was perhaps the surprise standout of the development camp. Ziemer’s most impressive attribute is his shot, and he used it numerous times to beat the goalies clean. While some of his puck skills need refining, his shot is NHL-ready at age 18.

The U.S. National Development Program under 18 team captain is headed to the University of Minnesota for a few years to become pro-ready. If Ziemer adds more confidence with the puck on his stick in tight areas, there’s a top-six ceiling in the cards for the 71st overall selection.

Ethan Miedema

Ethan Miedema was noticeable throughout the week simply because of his size, but the three-on-three tournament showcased his skill. He scored three goals and added a shootout winner to send his team to the finals. The 2023 fourth-round draft pick will head back to Kingston, where he scored 18 goals and 41 points for the Frontenacs last season.

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Stiven Sardarian

The somewhat forgotten member of the quad of Russian players selected in the 2021 draft, Stiven Sardarian found instant chemistry with Helenius in the three-on-three tournament. With Aleksandr Kisakov and Nikita Novikov already in Rochester, and Prokhor Poltapov in the KHL, Sardarian showed signs of a bright future as well.

His offensive talent and awareness stood out, and he’ll look to take that to the next level as he searches for a new home in the NCAA this season.

Scott Ratzlaff

Scott Ratzlaff was by far the most impressive of all Sabres goaltenders in development camp. His athleticism was on full display, as he relied on adjustments and reflexes to make reactionary saves. Ratzlaff is not afraid to sprawl out and use his flexibility, much like the greatest goaltender in team history.

Due to his style, there is some concern about his positioning and composure, as professional shooters know how to draw a goalie and open the net up for themselves. Still, these are encouraging traits for the 2023 fifth-round pick.

Ratzlaff is expected to return to the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL this season.

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