2023 Player Report Card: JJ Peterka
The 21-year-old forward showed promising flashes during his first full season with the Sabres.
Total Season Stats: 12-20-32 in 77 games played
Contract Status: Signed through 2024-25, $894,167 AAV, will be UFA at the start of the 2025-26 season
Despite scoring his first NHL goal and the first goal of the season for the Sabres back on October 13th, along with a four-game point streak to start the year, JJ Peterka had an inconsistent first half of his 2022-23 campaign for Buffalo.
The promising 21-year-old winger from Munich, Germany showed flashes during the first two months of the season, but dropped off considerably around the midway point, failing to register a goal in 26 straight games between December 15th and February 26th. He was also scratched a handful of times by the coaching staff, a message that his performance had not been good enough.
While sitting Peterka for a few games may have been just as much to manage the workload for a young rookie as it was to motivate him, JJ seemed to get the message and looked rejuvenated during the last two months of the season. He put up 5 goals and 8 assists in the last 22 games of the season, and created opportunity after opportunity for him and his linemates, furthering the chemistry he had built with other young players like Quinn and Cozens.
Although his defensive game needs some improvement this offseason, Peterka's speed and hockey sense were noticeable throughout the year, especially in the last few months, where he looked like one of Buffalo's best players. His creativity with the puck was on display on multiple occasions, along with a strong shooting ability, demonstrated in this goal against the Canadiens on March 27th.
Peterka also scored two big goals in two games against the Rangers late in the year as the playoffs were on the line, including this one in Devon Levi's first game with the Sabres.
Overall, JJ Peterka had a solid season for Buffalo, especially with it being his first in the NHL. His final stat line of 12 goals, 20 assists and 32 points won't wow anyone, but is certainly promising for what's to come. There are things he will need to improve on for next year, but he showed many positives on offense, including chemistry with his linemates, his ability to create chances and a strong playmaking/shooting ability.
In his final media availability of the year, Peterka admitted it was an "up and down season" and that he learned just how important it is to play with consistency in the NHL. If he can get that part figured out, and contribute like he did in final stretch of this season in 2023-24, Buffalo's forward group will be in a very good place.
Season Grade: B