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Buffalo Sabres Top 25 Under 25: T-#17 Isak Rosen

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.

Swedish winger Isak Rosén is tied for 17th in our top 25 rankings. The former 2021 first-rounder has a great mind for offense — not just in scoring goals, but in setting himself or his teammates up for success. After a difficult stretch in 2020 and 2021 adjusting to the SHL, the young phenom looks poised to come to Rochester off of an excellent showing at the World Juniors this past summer.

In a recent profile on Rosén for The Athletic, his former coach Martin Weel Sanne called his play in the junior league “lethal”:

He’s our most dangerous player when he plays for us. His hockey sense, the way he reads the play, his skating, it’s all high end. He has great edgework so he can beat people in the neutral zone. He can change directions in an instant, he reads defenders very well, and he takes what is given. He has technical qualities and speed and skating that other junior players don’t have.

Rosén’s numbers through the 2021-22 season were less than impressive; the adjustment to the men’s league for an undersized teenager seemed to take a toll. Still, he was drafted for his ability to generate offense beyond scoring goals; he shows poise and confidence when reading defenders and tracks the puck well. He’s also — as some of his older stat lines from the juniors suggest — a fiery shooter and scorer.

In other words? Rosén is well-rounded on the offensive side of the puck, and contributes to the overall attack rather than being a pure goal-scorer.

Though this year’s writeup on Rosén may not nearly be as sunny as last year’s, there’s good on the horizon. Rosén seemed to return to form after a season-ending injury in February 2022 with four goals and one assist across seven games at the 2022 World Junior Championship held in August, where Sweden earned bronze.

Despite the setbacks, the nineteen year-old signed his entry-level contract with the Sabres on June 1. He attended development camp, and will be at training camp this fall to compete for a roster spot with the Sabres. Given his competition, though, he’s most likely headed to Rochester, where he should get more time to develop, both physically and in the adjustment to high-level play.

If, for whatever reason, he doesn’t get the playing time in Rochester, Rosén’s contract includes a clause that would allow him to return to Sweden on loan, as reported by The Buffalo News. It seems that the organization is determined to get Rosén the playing time an athlete of his caliber needs in order to realize his potential (and, not to mention, make the most of the first-round pick they received from the Rasmus Ristolainen trade).

The upside and ceiling are there for the Swedish rising star, provided he’s given the right environment to cook.