The Buffalo Sabres already got their way when convincing 2018 draft pick Matej Pekar to play in the OHL this season, and now the two sides have agreed again on a step in his hockey career. Pekar has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Sabres.
Selected in the fourth round in June, Pekar was expected to stay in the USHL for one season before heading to the college ranks. All that went out the window when the Sabres convinced him to play with the Barrie Colts this season, ending his NCAA eligibility and setting him up for a quicker path to professional hockey. The talented Czech-born forward has made an impact right away scoring 11 points in his first 10 OHL games, and looks like a steal for the Sabres at this point—early as it may be.
It’s obviously difficult to judge a draft just a few months after it happens, but the Sabres look like they have quite a few gems from the last two years. While Casey Mittelstadt and Rasmus Dahlin are easy choices, others like Pekar, Mattias Samuelsson and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen could make it an excellent group. That’s exactly what the Sabres need as they try to climb out of the bottom of the league, and getting these players under contract is just another step along the way.