The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Die By The Blade community. It was a combination of six staff writers and over 485 fans that ranked players under the age of 25 as of August 10, 2021. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production to rank each player.
We kick things off in our 2021 iteration of the Buffalo Sabres top 25 under 25 with Casey Fitzgerald, who was not ranked among the top 25 last summer. There’s been a fair bit of turnover from last summer’s list. Part of that is, of course, due to some players “aging out,” such as the now-26-year-old Victor Olofsson, but there are also a handful of players no longer with the organization: Sam Reinhart, Will Borgen and Jonas Johansson.
Fitzgerald, 24, was drafted by the Sabres in 2016. After being drafted, he finished out his full collegiate hockey career at Boston College, then made the jump to the AHL with Rochester at the end of the 2018-19 season.
The right-handed defenseman appeared in 22 games with the Amerks last season and put up 11 points. The Sabres re-signed Fitzgerald earlier this month to a two-year, two-way deal with an AAV of $750,000 at the NHL level.
How has it already been just over a month since the season ended?— Rochester Americans (@AmerksHockey) June 21, 2021
Suzie Cool caught up with Casey Fitzgerald about his reflections on last season and what he’s been up to so far this offseason. pic.twitter.com/uPfHA2iWWS
Fitzgerald will likely start the season again in the AHL, but he could get his first look at the NHL this year at some point. The Sabres have only three right-handed defensemen on their roster - Colin Miller, Mark Pysyk and Henri Jokiharju - and Fitzgerald is one of only three at the minor-league level. (He’s joined by Oskari Laaksonen and Ethan Prow.)