Buffalo Sabres Top 20 Under 24 Prospect Rankings, #17: Marcus Davidsson

The former second-round draft pick has an uphill climb to an NHL future

The Top 20 Under 24 is a collaboration by members of the Die By The Blade community. It was a combination of five staff writers and over 300 readers that ranked prospects under the age of 24 and have played less than 125 NHL games.

Next up in our Top-20 Under-24 series is Swedish forward, Marcus Davidsson. Currently playing with Västerviks IK in Allsvenskan (second-tier Swedish league), the 21-year-old is coming off a rather disappointing 2019-20 campaign with Vaxjo, with whom he mutually parted ways last week.

Following a very solid D+1 season in 2017-18, he seemed like a very strong bet to eventually contribute in the Buffalo Sabres’ bottom-six. Unfortunately, he’s continued to struggle, and his NHL aspirations will almost certainly boil down to what he does this year in Allsvenskan, or otherwise.

Last season, he experienced another scoring regression in the SHL, posting 13 points in 31 games. In the 12 contests he appeared in with Vaxjo this season before having his contact terminated, he managed only one point, an assist. Unless he does enough with Västerviks IK to earn him another role in the SHL, it seems unlikely that the Sabres will qualify his rights next offseason.

Davidsson’s fate has been truly disappointing. When he was drafted, he was thought to be a potentially better version of Rasmus Asplund, leaving Sabres fans confident in the team’s future bottom-six. While Asplund’s situation isn’t nearly as dire, neither have reached their respective ceilings, and it leaves a hole in an already beleaguered forward prospect pool.

There is still some hope of course, but at his age, he should be an AHL shoe-in. Instead, he’s playing in what is essentially Sweden’s version of the AHL.