Buffalo Sabres Top 25 Under 25, #13: Matej Pekar
After an up and down season, Pekar remains an intriguing prospect
The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Die By The Blade community. It was a combination of seven staff writers and over 250 fans that ranked players under the age of 25 as of July 15th, 2020. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production to rank each player. This is our 2020 pre-draft rankings.
Matej Pekar had some high expectations after a strong start to his D+1 season that was cut short due to a collar bone injury. His D+2 season was a roller coaster ride for the Czech-born forward.
This season started out rough for him with the Barrie Colts of the OHL. His performance started to tail off as the season went on, which was reflected in his production. An overager being barely over a point-per-game player in the OHL is disappointing.
The struggles continued in the World Junior tournament. Pekar was supposed to be one of the leading players for the Czech National team. Instead, he was barely noticeable among his peers and only recorded one assist in five games.
Fortunately, things turned around for him when he was traded to the Sudbury Wolves. He was moved to a good team and placed on a line with one of the top draft-eligible prospects in the OHL, Quinton Byfield.
Matej Pekar picked up 2 assists today for Sudbury. His primary assist was a beauty as he showed off his edge work and preference to maintain puck possession which leads to a rebound goal. #Sabres #Sabres50 pic.twitter.com/NrlBGs7A2k— Curtis (@CurtisTCB716) March 2, 2020
It’ll be interesting to see what the Sabres under Kevyn Adams will do with Pekar. They can place him in the AHL next season to begin his pro career or return him to Sudbury for another season in the OHL.
At this point it still looks like Pekar projects as a forward with a bottom-six ceiling. His style of being a pest on the ice is something that fans have grabbed onto. Next season will be a big year to determine what the organization can likely expect from Pekar moving forward.