The Buffalo Sabres entered the 2022-23 NHL season with the youngest roster (average) in the NHL. With an average age of 25.44, this is also the youngest roster the Sabres have iced since 1989-90, when the team averaged 25.31 years old. (And, if your curiosity is piqued, the youngest average Sabres roster ever was in the 1982-83 season, with an average age of 24.67. But I digress.)
There are a lot of young, exciting players on the Sabres roster right now. Each of them individually is a treat to watch, but truly, it’s the combination that makes it that much more special. Not only are these guys succeeding, they’re making each other better, growing together and turning each game into something special.
Dylan Cozens is in the throes of his third NHL season, while Jack Quinn and JJ Peterka are really only in their first full seasons. Both made very minor appearances with the Sabres last season, getting just a taste of what the NHL life was like. These three players, individually and sometimes on a line together, are showcasing incredible young talent and skill.
Cozens was named an NHL Star of the Week earlier this month.
EliteProspects’ Projections have him on page for 79 points in 82 games. ESPN’s start-of-season projections put Cozens at 41 points (14-27) in 80 games. As of writing, he already has 27 points (10-17) in 28 games.
Hashtag Hockey’s Fantasy Projections put Quinn on pace for 28 points in 58 games, and Peterka on pace for 30 points in 56 games. They’ve already got 16 points and 14 points, respectively.
And that’s only the beginning of an embarrassment of young riches for the Sabres.
Owen Power is only 20 years old. Mattias Samuelsson and Rasmus Dahlin are both 22 years old. Tage Thompson is 25 and having a monster of a season, having just been named the NHL’s second star of the week.
Thompson has recorded at least a point in 19 of 28 games, Cozens in 18 of 28. Peterka has a point in half of the games he’s played, while Quinn has points in 13 of 23 games. From the backend, Dahlin has put up a point in 21 of 27 games.
And of course, Thompson has had two six-point games this season, and it’s only December.
It’s not just one night, here or there. It’s the consistent effort, across the board, from these young guns that is truly leaving an impression, not just in Buffalo, but putting teams across the NHL on notice too.
How far can they go? What is the limit for this young group? The world is about to find out.