Sabres Prospects Notebook 1-22-20



Games Below From 1/13/2020 – 1/19/2020

NOTE:  For recaps below, we are highlighting any prospects who contributed on the score sheet over the past week or did anything notable.  For an overall view of Sabres Prospects and their stats, be sure to check The Charging Buffalo’s Prospect Stat Tracker which is updated daily here or clicking the image below.

stats 12-11


Prospect of the Week:  C – Arttu Ruotsalainen

Ilves (Liiga) – 2GP – 1G – 4A – 5PTS

Ruotsalainen returned from his injury in a big way, putting up 5 points in just 2 games and re-emphasizing that his 2019-20 campaign has been no fluke.  The diminutive forward for Ilves has been as consistent as they come having picked up at least 1 point in 70% of his games (19/27) and extending his current point streak to 5 games.  He has been very effective on the Powerplay but exhibits a skill set that could easily translate to the NHL after some seasoning in the AHL next year.  As Kris Baker pointed out recently, Ruotsalainen has been a focus of his opponents this year but has still been able to produce so it’s promising that he has been able to answer the bell against tougher competition.  He may be a dark horse to crack the bottom 6 in 2020-21 for Buffalo but patience with this late bloomer and lottery ticket is the way to go.


Weekly Prospect Updates:

  • It was business as usual for the top prospect in the Sabres’ system, Dylan Cozens, as he returned to Lethbridge’s lineup for the first time in about a month due to his action with Team Canada at the World Juniors.  Keep following along here to see why Cozens has legitimate 2nd line center upside at the NHL level and that his World Junior performance shouldn’t mean we should temper expectations on him.
  • Rasmus Asplund and Lawrence Pilut got sent back down to Rochester while the Sabres are on Bye Week so that should help spark the skidding Amerks who have dropped 7 in a row.  They will join Casey Mittelstadt who has improved greatly and actually produced, picking up a nice goal last week.  
  • He got taken off of a line with Byfield recently with Sudbury but Pekar still contributed on the scoresheet picking up 3 points in 2 games.  The intensity with which he plays the game combined with his offensive skill set should help him round out the consistency issues in his game and he looks to be a focal point of the offense for the Wolves the rest of the season.
  • Perhaps he read my poor review of him in the Midterm Report as Mattias Samuelsson contributed not 1 but 2 assists in 2 games for Western Michigan.  Kidding aside, this is exactly what he needs to start doing if he has any hope of developing into a 2 way NHL defender.  Using his strength and a rare burst of speed to exit the zone, Samuelsson created a 2 on 1 break where he made a nice cross ice pass for one of his assists.  Carry outs are not exactly his strong suit so this aggressiveness to exit the zone with possession is a step in the right direction for the developing prospect.
  • If he continues to contribute the way he has for Sparta Praha, I may be forced to start the Lukas “Roadrunner” Rousek bandwagon.  He is constantly pushing the pace of play and creating chances in the offensive zone, a trait that would be very valuable on a 4th line in the NHL should the rest of his game get rounded out.
  • A slew of injuries has impacted some Sabres Prospects as of late, with Davidsson, Kukkonen, and Laaksonen joining Huglen (TBD) and Thompson (Season) on the injured list.  Davidsson and Laaksonen appear to have short term ailments though Laaksonen has reportedly been hampered by an injury all year which could explain his dip in production and play this season.  Thompson recently was announced to be out for the season and Kukkonen will also be sidelined several months which likely has ended his 2019-20 campaign.
  • After an extended look in the ECHL, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen finally got his chance with Rochester in the AHL but struggled in his 2 starts, going 0-1-0-1 and allowing 7 goals on 62 shots.  The Amerks have struggled mightily the past several weeks, giving UPL basically no goal support (1 in 2 games) which didn’t help things.  This is all part of their development plan for him supposedly and he will head back to Cincinnati where he will take over starting goaltender duties for the foreseeable future.
  • I’ve noted a few times how Erik Portillo has not faced a high volume of shots in a lot of the games he’s played this year but in his lone start on Saturday, Portillo was peppered and turned away all but 1 of the 39 shots he faced.  He may have a bit of a chip on his shoulder after not getting an opportunity to play for Sweden at the World Juniors and looks to carry Dubuque in the 2nd half of the season and stay atop the goaltending stats leaderboard of the USHL.



C Dylan Cozens – Lethbridge
2 GP – 1 G – 2 A – 3 PTS


C Matej Pekar – Barrie
2 GP – 1 G – 2 A – 3 PTS

AHL – Rochester Americans

C Casey Mittelstadt
2 GP – 1 G – 0 A – 1 PTS


LD Mattias Samuelsson – Western Michigan
2 GP – 0 G – 2 A – 2 PTS


C Marcus Davidsson – Vaxjo
2 GP – 1 G – 2 A – 3 PTS



C Arttu Ruotsalainen – Ilves
2 GP – 1 G – 4 A – 5 PTS



LW Lukas Rousek – Sparta Praha
2 GP – 0 G – 2 A – 2 PTS


LW Vasily Glotov – St. Petersburg
2 GP – 0 G – 1 A – 1 PTS



LD Linus Cronholm – Karlskrona
2 GP – 0 G – 1 A – 1 PTS




G Erik Portillo – Dubuque
1 GP – 1 W – 1.00 GAA – .974 SV% (38/39)



G Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen – Rochester
2 GP – 0 W – 1 SOL –  3.38 GAA – .887 SV% (55/62)

Not Active – Injured

  • Aaron Huglen – Fargo (USHL) – TBD
  • Tage Thompson – Rochester (AHL) – Out for Season
  • Oskari Laaksonen – Ilves (Liiga) – Week to Week
  • Marcus Davidsson – Vaxjo (SHL) – Week to Week
  • Miska Kukkonen – Lukko (Liiga and Jr. A) – 5-6 Months


Continue to check in every Monday for a weekly prospect update from The Charging Buffalo Crew.

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  1. […] 2020 Sabres Prospects Notebook 1-27-20 Sabres Prospects Notebook 1-22-20 Sabres Prospects Notebook – Midterm Report Card 2019-20 Part 1 Sabres Prospects Notebook – […]


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