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Checking in on Sabres Prospects

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Cozens, Pekar showcasing skills in juniors

2018 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7 Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

As we reach the midway point of October, it’s time to check in on some of the Buffalo Sabres prospects to see how their respective seasons are going so far.

Rochester Americans

The Rochester Americans have started off the season on good footing, with a 3-1-0-0 record. With six points, they’re tied for the North Division lead (with the Toronto Marlies) and tied for second in the Eastern Conference. In their conference, only Hartford (seven points) is better.

Leading the way for the Amerks? Tage Thompson, who has five points (2-3) in just four games. No shock there. He’s also a plus-3 and has recorded 16 shots on goal. Defenseman Zach Redmond is also putting up points, with four (1 goal, 3 assists) in three games.

Other notable names: Rasmus Asplund (2 assists), C.J. Smith (1 goal). Andrew Hammond has a 1.60 GAA and .941 save percentage, but of course it’s a small sample size this early in the season.

The Amerks prepare to face Cleveland and Utica this coming weekend, with games against Hershey, Syracuse, Springfield and Providence on tap to finish the month of October.

In Juniors

Dylan Cozens is having himself quite the season so far with the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes. Since rejoining the team, the 18-year-old has appeared in seven games - and recorded 11 points. He’s averaging a goal per game and has also added four assists. HIs two game-winning goals are tied for the most in the league along with a handful of other players. His 11 points lead the Hurricanes, and five of those points have come on the man advantage.

Matej Pekar is also having quite the season in his second OHL stint with the Barrie Colts. The 19-year-old is averaging more than a point per game, with seven goals and three assists for 10 points in just seven games. He’s second on the team in scoring, behind only Jason Willms (11 points).

Pekar and the Colts are second in the Central Division with a 5-1-0-1 record, just one point back of the Sudbury Wolves.

Elsewhere, in the USHL, goaltender Erik Portillo has appeared in two games - and won both. He allowed three goals on 46 shots and has a 1.50 GAA and .935 save percentage. Dubuque currently sits atop the Eastern Conference with eight points.

Also in the USHL, Aaron Huglen is on injured reserve with the Fargo Force. There’s no timeline for his return yet.

College

Not a whole lot to report here. Left winger Linus Weissbach has four points - all assists - in two games with the University of Wisconsin. Weissbach is tied for second on the team in scoring; Montreal Canadiens prospect Cole Caufield leads the team with five points in two games, while Los Angeles Kings prospect Alex Turcotte also has four points. The team is still awaiting its first conference action of the season; its first two games came against Boston College (5-3 loss) and Merrimack (11-5 win).

Mattias Samuelsson has yet to play this season for Western Michigan; he's injured.

Overseas

Across the ocean, Arttu Ruotsalainen is averaging nearly a point-per-game with Ilves. He’s put up six points, including five assists, in seven games, and is tied for fifth on his team in scoring (despite having played fewer games than the other players).

Also on Ilves: defenseman Oskari Laaksonen, who’s also having a decent season so far with five points (1-4) in 11 games. If you’re the type to put any stock in plus/minus, look away - he’s a minus 6 this season so far. While Ruotsalainen has spent time on Ilves’ top line, Laaksonen has been on the team’s top D pairing since a new head coach took the helm. Ilves is 12th in the league with a 4-8-0-0 record and a league-worst 41 goals-against.

Elsewhere, defenseman Linus Cronholm isn’t having a bad season with Karlskrona HK. He’s put up four points (2-2) in seven games and has 31 penalty minutes. He leads the defenders on his team in scoring, and his plus-3 rating is tied for the best on the team. Karlskrona is fourth in the league with a 4-3-2-0 record.

Center Marcus Davidsson has recorded four points, including three goals, in 10 games with Vaxjo. It’s his first season with the club, after spending the previous four years with Djurgardens. Davidsson is currently fourth on the team in scoring and playing alongside some familiar names, including fellow Sabres prospect Filip Cederqvist. Cederqvist has two points (1-1) on the season.

Forward Lukas Rousek has put up three points (2-1) in nine games so far with Sparta Praha. It’s his third season with the club; he recorded nine points in 34 games last season, then had five points in four playoff games.

Defenseman Miska Kukkonen has been served 16 penalty minutes in seven games with Luuko Rauma. He has yet to record a point this season (and only recorded one last season) but is a plus-2. Kukkonen missed the first few weeks of the season with injury.

Finally, defenseman Philip Nyberg has appeared in two games with Mora. He was injured in mid-August after blocking a shot during a game. This is Nyberg’s first season back overseas, after he left the University of Connecticut following three seasons.