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.
After his first pro season, defenseman Mattias Samuelsson is “very close to” cracking an NHL roster full-time; that’s what Rochester Americans head coach Seth Appert said of the 21-year-old back in May, and it rings true today as Samuelsson is in Buffalo for the Sabres Prospects Challenge.
Following two years at Western Michigan, Samuelsson signed a three-year deal with the Buffalo Sabres in March 2020. Last season, he appeared in 23 games with the Amerks and recorded 13 points. He also made his NHL debut, appearing in 12 games with the Sabres and playing mostly in a pairing with Rasmus Ristolainen.
The 2018 draft pick is one of the Sabres’ top defensive prospects at this point, and it’s only a matter of time before he makes the jump to the NHL. Of course, part of that is also having a spot for him on the roster; he’s currently one of seven left D in the organization. Here’s to hoping the Amerks “Rookie of the Year” never plays an AHL game again.
With such a small sample size of pro North American hockey, I’m eager to get a better look at Samuelsson with a full, regular-length season. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s significantly higher on this list next time around.
P.S. Samuelsson has switched to jersey number #23 for this season.