BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Two of the Sabres top prospects are set to make their Buffalo debuts Wednesday night. The team brought up Peyton Krebs and JJ Peterka from Rochester Tuesday. Peterka said he got the call while he was at the grocery store.
“My phone was like not working so they called [teammate Linus] Weissbach because he was with me and that was kind of weird but then I got the phone and [Rochester head coach Seth] Appert told me I got the call up so it was amazing,” Peterka said.
“You could even see the smile with his mask on,’ coach Matt Ellis said. “His cheeks flared up. Just enthusiasm from the second both those guys arrived.”
Krebs came over as a piece of the Jack Eichel trade. The forward played in 13 games during his time in Vegas so he has NHL experience already. Still, the nerves are there as he suits up for a new franchise.
“Definitely feels a little like the first game at the same time I definitely have an outlook on what it’s going to be like on the ice,” Krebs said. “It’s exciting. Definitely nice to be here and play for the Buffalo Sabres.”
Krebs said he wants to be a “sponge” in his time with the Sabres and earn his spot with the team. His confidence is high thanks to his time in Rochester, but he doesn’t want to look too far ahead when it comes to getting acclimated to the NHL.
“I think the biggest thing is kind of focusing on the now,” Krebs said. “Getting better every day, how can I come into the NHL and be the player I want to be?”
Even though some consider Krebs as the guy that was traded for Jack Eichel, he doesn’t look at it that way.
“Those things don’t really affect me,” Krebs said. “Obviously [Eichel’s] going to do whatever he’s going to do there and I am going to do whatever I am going to do here. Coming into pro hockey and the NHL I have high expectations for myself from the beginning and because I got traded for a good player doesn’t mean I am going to change those.”
Peterka’s took a more linear path to Buffalo. The Sabres drafted him in 2020 and he worked his way to the NHL. He earned a tryout with the club during training camp, but didn’t make the roster, and the team sent him to Rochester. He said it helped him become a better player.
“First day was a little bit sad that I didn’t make the team but I took all that as a learning process and we have a great coaching staff down there in Rochester so I think I really improved there,” Peterka said. “I think it was a really good step for me to go down there and have big minutes there.”
Since he has some NHL experience, Krebs might be able to pass that along to his teammate JJ, but he said that Peterka doesn’t need much advice as he prepares for his NHL debut.
“I just told him to go do his thing,” Krebs said. “He’s here for a reason. He’s a great player. I don’t really need to say too much of that kid, he’s got it figured out for sure.”
Krebs and Peterka found a lot of success in Rochester on the same line. Peterka said part of that success came from their work ethic and the personal connection they developed on the ice. Krebs showed his excitement for his former linemate as they both prepare to make their Sabres debut.
“It’s exciting to see him up here,” Krebs said. “He’s a heck of a player. He can skate like crazy. Great kid so it was awesome to see him out there flying around and doing his thing.”
Alex Tuch also makes his Sabres debut Wednesday so two of the biggest pieces of the Jack Eichel trade, Tuch and Krebs, will play in their first Buffalo games when they take on New Jersey at 7 p.m.