The Top 20 Under 24 is a collaboration by members of the Die By The Blade community. It was a combination of five staff writers and over 300 readers that ranked prospects under the age of 24 and have played less than 125 NHL games.
I’ll be honest from the get-go here. When the Buffalo Sabres selected Jack Quinn with the eighth-overall selection in the 2020 NHL Draft, I was surprised and initially a little disappointed. After all, I’d heard so many good things about Marco Rossi, who was still available at the time.... and yet, the Sabres didn’t pick Rossi. When the confusion settled a little, I made some kind of peace with the decision. After all, Quinn is nothing to shake your head at. Eighty-nine points in 62 games with the Ottawa 67’s is still an incredible stat line, and any team would be lucky to have a player capable of that kind of offensive output.
It’s little surprise, then, that the 19-year-old Quinn came in at #4 on both the fan and writer rankings of the Sabres’ top 20 under 24 prospects.
He has just two full seasons in the Ontario Hockey League under his belt, but Quinn’s progress over the past year or so has been outstanding. After appearing in eight OHL games during the 2017-18 season, he made the jump full-time to juniors in the 2018-19 season. In 61 games, he put up 32 points, including 20 assists. Not bad by any means, but nothing extra eye-catching, either.
It’s the progress from that season to the next that will make you do a double-take, as Quinn went from a 32-point season to an 89-point season. Fifty-two goals and 37 assists put the young forward third on his team in points, behind Rossi (120 points) and Joseph Garreffa (90 points). He was also second in the league in goals, behind only Nicholas Robertson (55).
And then, of course, the pandemic hit. Although the OHL season has yet to start, Quinn is busy now: he was recently named to the Team Canada roster ahead of the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championships. It will be his first appearance at the World Juniors, and will offer Sabres fans a great chance to see what Quinn can do on a bigger stage.
Early in practices ahead of the tournament, Quinn has often been spotted on the top line with fellow Sabres prospect Dylan Cozens, and Chicago Blackhawks forward Kirby Dach. Not too shabby for a kid who realistically wasn’t close to being on Canada’s radar a few years ago.
The Sabres signed their first-round pick to a three-year, entry-level contract in mid-November. As for where he’ll end up once the World Juniors ends, that still remains to be seen.... and will he leave Edmonton with a medal?