The Buffalo Sabres have signed 2022 fifth-round pick Vsevolod Komarov to a three-year, entry-level contract, per his agent, Dan Milstein.
Buffalo selected the promising two-way defender with the 134th overall selection, a pick they acquired from the New Jersey Devils as compensation for taking on the last season of defenseman Will Butcher’s contract in 2021-22. The Sabres officially announced the signing just minutes after Milstein did, and PuckPedia reports the deal carries an $865,000 cap hit.
Komarov, 19, is headed to this year’s Memorial Cup after capturing the 2023 QMJHL championship with his Québec Remparts, which boast one of the best two-way defense corps in the entire CHL. He was a big part of that this season, and his +38 rating tied for first among defensemen on the team.
A right-handed defender, Komarov has good size at 6-foot-2 and possesses a strong shot, something that’s impressed the Sabres’ director of player development, Adam Mair.
When we saw him at rookie camp and development camp, we sort of thought that he was primarily a defender. Which he is, and he’s an excellent one. He’s big, he’s long, he’s competitive, and strong in front of the net. But he’s started to add some offense to his game in Quebec. They have a good team and he’s a big part of what they’re creating. He’s been put on the power play. He’s taken a big step this year in terms of his puck play and his offensive contributions.
In 2022-23, Komarov tallied 12 goals and 27 assists for 39 points in 62 games with the Remparts. He added a goal and seven assists in 18 playoff games.
Komarov’s signing marks another step forward for the Sabres’ 2022 draft class, which is yielding very promising. He becomes the fifth member of the draft class to sign an entry-level contract, joining forwards Matthew Savoie, Noah Östlund, Jiri Kulich, and Viktor Neuchev.
Over two years the Sabres drafted 6 Russians, and they’ve already signed 4 of them. They often benefited by the decision of other teams to downgrade them – or even removing them from their draft boards.
And, they’ve proven at being very adept at signing them. The Americans next season will have a strong Russian flavor.
So, the team has been very good and very smart about building their prospect pipeline.