The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Die By The Blade community. It was a combination of staff writers and over 600 readers that ranked Buffalo Sabres players under the age of 25 as of August 1, 2022. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production to rank each player.
It’s wild to think that it’s only been four years since Casey Mittelstadt made his NHL debut with the Buffalo Sabres, but time has a weird habit of both getting away from us and not going fast at all. But since the end of the 2017-2018 when Mittelstadt signed out of the University of Minnesota, things haven’t gone exactly as he’s planned.
In that time, he’s taken his lumps in his rookie season of 2018-2019, been sent to Rochester in the 2019-2020 season and battled through the short but uneventful Ralph Krueger era, and the latest twist of his career: having injury submarine what was poised to be his best opportunity for a breakout season in 2021-2022.
Mittelstadt was one of the best Sabres in training camp last season, but in the first game of the season, an upper-body injury put him on the shelf. In his haste to get back on the ice, he re-aggravated the injury and had a heck of a time getting back up to speed once he was good to go by mid-February. Hockey life can be cruel.
In his 195 games with Buffalo, he has 33 goals and 47 assists for 80 points. It’s not what he dreamed when he was taken eighth in the 2017 NHL Draft and it’s assuredly not what the Sabres hoped for either. Every season brings renewed hope, and for Mittelstadt that means proving he is a top-six forward and he should be the guy that can spur on the Sabres attack beyond the first line.
The passing of time has added competition for playing time and assuredly Dylan Cozens, Peyton Krebs, Jack Quinn, and J-J Peterka will all be vying for that ice time. It’s up to Mittelstadt now to show the injury(-ies) are behind him and he can buoy the attack be it at center or on the wing.