Home Minors Future Buffalo Sabres: Noah Ostlund

Future Buffalo Sabres: Noah Ostlund

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By Warren Kozireski —

The third of Buffalo’s three 2022 first round draft picks finally arrived in North America as Noah Ostlund joined the Rochester Americans late in the regular season and for their playoff run.

Going into the 2022 NHL Draft, Swedish forward Noah Ostlund was described as “the most prolific setup-man in the entire Swedish junior circuit” projected as a late first round selection, The Sabres chose him with the 16th overall pick sandwiched by Matt Savoie (9th) and Juri Kulich (28th).

Ostlund, playing on a line with fellow prospects Isak Rosen and Juri Kulich in the first round of the playoffs, played the final two regular season games registering an assist and scored his first goal in game one of the North Division semi-final series with Syracuse.

“(Fellow Swede Anton) Wahlberg and Ostlund are getting more accustomed every day in practice, every game at the lack of time and space and the physicality,” Rochester head coach Seth Appert said. “They’re both talented, smart young players and they’re making adjustments on the fly right now.

“They’re not physically ready to be physically demanding players right now…but they’re both doing a really good job right now.

“He’s not intimidated by physicality at all, he just needs to get used to the lack of time and space in North America. One thing he’s made the adjustment already—we talked after game one—in North America you have to take in more information before you get the puck. In Europe you can get the puck, slow it down and kind of navigate your way through…because it’s a little more soccer-like. In North America you need to scan and take in pre-information before you get the puck because, once you get it, your time is eliminated.

“He’s smart enough and already made that adjustment…so that allows him to find those plays. He’s a natural play-making center and it’s a lot to ask just coming over to North America and our centers are pretty good right now, so that’s why we slotted him on the wing.”

The 5’11”, 163 lb. center is playing wing as he adjusts to the larger ice. He has bounced around this season being loaned by Djurgårdens to Vaxjo in Sweden where he put up 23 points in 38 games. He also played for Team Sweden at the U-20 World Juniors where the assistant captain had ten points in seven games against his peers.

He was with Rochester last season during the postseason, but did not play, something he believes helped prepare him for this playoff run. He scored his first American Hockey League goal on the power play in his first playoff game on home ice against Syracuse.

“Good timing and a great win for us,” Ostlund said after the game. “I’m pretty used to playoffs right now because I’ve been playing playoffs for a while back in Sweden.

“(last year) I got to know all the guys, the staff and the city too, so it’s helped very much. What you see out there is how I am as a player and how I want to play. Couple more good chances that could have created more offense.”

Though he does not possess size, especially compared to those he is facing who are several years his senior, Ostlund is not afraid to go into the corners or the front of the net in the offensive zone.

“Try to hang on to the puck rather than shoot it away as early.”

And he has more than a few countrymen to help with his transition to North America in Isak Rosen, Linus Weissbach.

“I try my best and I think we have a lot of guys that can help…a lot of Swedes, Kulich can help them too and, of course, our veteran players are great at helping younger players,” Rosen said about the rookie.

“I think it’s easy to come into our group…and they’re (Ostlund & Wahlberg) trying their best to get to know everyone, so it’s been good.”

Experiencing what will likely be a full season in Rochester next season will further that acclimatization and give Buffalo’s front office and coaching staff a better read on what they have in the just turned 20-year-old.

(Photo by Koz/NY Hockey Online)