BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Sabres added three forwards Thursday in first round on the NHL Draft and selected 11 players over the course of the event.
You can learn about each draft pick below.
How to watch the NHL Draft
The Draft is a two-day event running Thursday and Friday, July 7-8 in Montreal. Round 1 starts at 7 p.m. Thursday (ESPN, ESPN+). Rounds 2-7 start at 11 a.m. Friday (NHLN, ESPN+).
Sabres draft picks
The Sabres own three first-round picks and 11 overall. The Sabres got the 16th overall pick from Vegas as part of the Jack Eichel trade. They got the 28th overall pick from Florida as part of the Sam Reinhart trade.
9th overall: Matthew Savoie, C, Winnipeg Ice (WHL) – at 5’9″ he’s not a big forward, but brings a lot of speed. Considered one of the fastest skaters in the upcoming draft according to NHL.com. One of the top point scorers in the WHL. He ranked 6th in the league with 90 points in 65 games. He spent most of his time at center last season, but is confident in his ability to play the wing as well.
16th overall (from VGK): Noah Östlund, C, Djurgårdens IF / HockeyAllsvenskan – a 5’11” center, he was known more for his distribution last year. He had 42 points and 33 assists for Djurgårdens IF J20 according to EliteProspects.com.
28th overall (from FLA): Jiri Kulich, C, HC Energie Karlovy Vary / Czechia – another center proves GM Kevyn Adams is trying to build organizational depth at the position. He had 17 goals and five assists for the Czechia U18 team last year.
41st overall: Topias Leinonen, G, JYP U20, Liiga / Finland – the No. 1 ranked European goalie on the NHL Central Scouting Rankings, Leinonen stands at 6’5″ and weighs 233 pounds. He played 21 games with JYP’s u20 team and was fifth in the league in save percentage (.916) and seventh in goals against average (2.28). He won a bronze medal with Finland at the 2022 IIHF World Championships, earning three wins. He is just 18 years old.
74th overall: Viktor Neuchev, LW, Yekaterinburg 2 / Russia-Jr. – the Sabres take another 18-year-old in the third round, selecting the Russian winger. He played 61 games with Yekaterinburg totaling 67 points on 40 goals and 27 assists in the 2021-22 season. He was tied for third in the league in goals and eighth in points.
106th overall: Mats Lindgren, D, Kamloops Blazers / WHL – the 17-year-old left-handed shooting defenseman put up 44 points in 68 games with Kamloops this past season and was +25. His father, also named Mats, played 387 games in the NHL from 1996-2003 with the Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders and Vancouver Canucks.
134th overall (from NJ): Vsevolod Komarov, D, Quebec Remparts / QMJHL – an 18-year-old Russian defenseman, Komarov joins the organization from the Quebec Remparts after coming to North America less than a year ago and put up 19 points. He was coached in Quebec by Patrick Roy.
170th overall: Jake Richard, RW, Muskegon Lumberjacks / USHL – Richard, a native of Jacksonville, Fla., spent the 2021-22 season with Muskegon where he scored 18 goals in 56 games, tallying 48 total points. The 17-year-old is committed to University of Connecticut.
187th overall (from CGY via FLA): Gustav Karlsson, C, Orebro HK J20 / J20 Nationell – Karlsson played 41 games in Sweden’s J20 league in 2021-22, scoring 31 goals as part of a 48-point season. He also played a pair of games in the SHL, Sweden’s top league. He shoots left-handed.
202nd overall: Joel Ratkovic Berndtsson, RW, Frolunda HC / J20 Nationell – Ratkovic Berndtsson appeared in 47 games in the Swedish J20 league in 2021-22, totaling 49 points, 22 of them goals. He is 18 years old and is a left-handed shot.
211th overall (from DAL): Linus Sjodin, C, Rogle BK / SHL – Sjodin played in 49 games in the SHL this past season and picked up 11 points. He has also played for Sweden’s U20 national team.
Top NHL Draft prospects
Who’s good this year? Take a look at the prospect rankings from NHL Central Scouting.
What has Kevyn Adams said?
Sabres GM Kevyn Adams has kept his cards close to the vest, though he has indicated — at least publicly — that he does not intend to make a blockbuster trade.
“At nine, you’re going to look at your list and you’re going to say, man we’ve got these three players, we really like all of them, but you can only call one name and you have to make that decision,” Adams said in a pre-draft news conference. “But that goes back to if you’ve done the work before and you’re prepared for that, you move forward. Then balancing who could be there at 16, that’s where I really lean on these guys and ask a lot of questions.”
The NHL released the 2022-23 schedule Wednesday. The full list of Sabres games can be found here. Notable items include:
- Season opener is home on Oct. 13 vs. Ottawa
- Home games the day before and after Thanksgiving
- Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche in Buffalo on Dec. 1
- On the road New Year’s Eve and Day
- Only one home game against Toronto, on Tuesday, Feb. 21
More Sabres coverage
- Sabres let one slip away in shootout loss
- NHL Pride Night controversy: Lyubushkin sits out, fears Russian retribution
- Sabres’ Ilya Lyubushkin won’t take part in Pride night warmup, fearing Russian retribution
- Capt. Kyle Okposo, goalie Eric Comrie clutch for Sabres in shutout win on Long Island
- Sabres get ‘goat head’ swagger back to beat Lindy Ruff’s Devils
- Canisius can’t pull off upset in NCAA hockey tournament
- Sabres stumbling to one of worst home records in history
- Devon Levi ‘super glad’ to be in Buffalo, progressing toward NHL debut
- Sabres showing they’re not yet playoff caliber
* * *
Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook and Twitter and find more of his work here.