Buffalo drafted prospect Vsevolod Komarov in 2022. ©2024, Micheline Veluvolu

After trade, Vsevolod Komarov cements status as one of Sabres’ top prospects

So, what kind of defenseman is Buffalo Sabres prospect Vsevolod Komarov?

The Russian recorded 69 points during the regular season, including 55 assists, the Quebec Maritime Junior Hockey League’s highest totals among defenders.

So, yes, Komarov, whose Drummondville Voltigeurs begin their first-round playoff series Friday, can be labeled as an offensive defenseman.

“You’ll find with a lot of guys putting up those kinds of points, that that’s their gimmick, like they are an offensive guy, a skill guy,” Sabres development coach Zach Redmond, a former NHL defenseman, told the Times Herald. “That’s that. But Komarov, it’s just so much more.”

The 6-foot-3, 188-pound Komarov also registered 105 penalty minutes in 60 games – the QMJHL has banned fighting – one minute less than the league leader.

“What differentiates him from a typical offensive defenseman that’s putting up these kind of points is the fact that (he compiled) more than 100 penalty minutes,” Redmond said.

So, Komarov, 20, certainly showcases an edge on the ice.

“That’s kind of where compete comes in,” Redmond said.

That high compete level – Redmond said it’s “genuine,” which matches his personality – helps Komarov influence games through more than his offensive ability.

“You can just tell on the ice it doesn’t matter how tight the game is, the guy doesn’t want to allow players to get to his net,” Redmond said.

At the junior level, Redmond said “the kid’s got everything.”

“He’s got size, he’s tough, he’s hard to play against,” he said. “He runs the top on the power play. He can get you out of the zone, he can play D. He literally does it all.”

That, of course, is impressive for a youngster the Sabres drafted in the fifth round in 2022, 134th overall.

Komarov’s rapid development has helped him emerge as one of the Sabres’ top prospects.

“He’s maybe of the group of prospects from the day we drafted him until where he is today that’s potentially taken some of the biggest strides,” Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said in January. “He’s really worked on his game. His confidence is high. He’s showing now that he (has) poise with the puck, (can) make plays.

“His feet are what he needs to work on, but they’ve gotten better. I mean, he’s really become a dominant Quebec League defenseman, and someone that where we were fortunate enough to get him in the draft is pretty exciting for us.”

Komarov earned his entry-level NHL contract last year and will likely begin his pro career with the Rochester Americans next season or even later this campaign.

But right now, in the final weeks or months of his junior career, he’s focused on winning a championship with Drummondville, which traded for him on Dec. 4.

Komarov possesses a championship pedigree, having won QMJHL and Memorial Cup titles with the Quebec Remparts in 2023.

“I want to win another Cup,” he said. “Like, why not? It’s like (a) pretty good feeling last year. … I just want to be a winner.”

Komarov has enjoyed a dynamic four-month run in Drummondville. To wit: he compiled 11 goals, 50 points, 54 penalty minutes and a plus-44 rating in 38 regular-season games with the Voltigeurs.

“I like everything here,” said Komarov, who had an ankle injury during Buffalo’s training camp this year.

Off the ice, Komarov has fit in well, showing his personality.

Drummondville coach Sylvain Favreau, who watched him for more than two seasons prior to the trade, said he always saw a stern-looking player who displayed a mean streak on the ice.

“Just out there to do his job,” he said. “And what I see out of the kid now coaching him is he’s actually a very, very funny guy, a really great human being, always a smile on his face.”

Komarov, who came to North America in 2021, has learned to speak English and some French.

Redmond said Komarov refuses to complain and “makes the most out of his situation he’s in.” At first, he might seem a bit introverted.

“It doesn’t take him long to warm up at all,” Redmond said. “He’s one of the guys in the locker room that people want to hang out with and be around, and that’s just because of his easy nature. There’s no baggage with this kid.

“He wants to win, he wants to be a good teammate, and that’s just naturally who he is, which is the cool part about him.”

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