Buffalo Sabres prospect Noah Ostlund, the 16th overall pick last year, has joined the Rochester Americans to practice and get a feel for the organization.
The Amerks play the fifth and decisive game of their AHL North Division semifinal series tonight on the road against the Syracuse Crunch. Ostlund, however, likely won’t be participating in the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Ostlund, 19, has been battling a foot injury that forced him to miss playoff games with his Swedish team, Djurgardens, according to The Buffalo News.
Still, coach Seth Appert believes the center will benefit his experience in Rochester.
“It’s one thing for Kevyn Adams and Jason Karmanos or Donny (Granato) or myself to talk to these prospects about what we’re trying to build in Buffalo and in Rochester and that we have a good thing going and all these things,” Appert said on a Zoom call Friday. “But it’s another thing for them to see it, feel it and live it, right?”
Appert said the 5-foot-11, 163-pound Ostlund hasn’t practiced since he arrived Thursday.
“For Noah to be around the guys, sit in on the team meetings, sit in on the power-play meeting, to sit down with me and talk a little bit, just to absorb all this is a good process for him to go through,” he said. “And, obviously, it’s important for us to show him as well what the organization culture really stands for on a day-to-day basis.”
Ostlund registered eight goals and 26 points in 37 games this season for Djurgardens, a second-division pro team that competes in HockeyAllsvenskan.
Appert called him “a high-end prospect.”
“He’s a high-character (player),” he said. “He plays the game the right way. Skilled but not a young skill player that cheats the game. Really competitive on the puck. He’s kind of a puck hound. He’s got great edge control.”
Appert said Ostlund possesses a lot of similarities to Matty Beniers, who scored 24 goals as a rookie with the Seattle Kraken this season.
“I’m not saying he’s going to be Matty Beniers, but just stylistically, they’re very good on their edges, they’re slippery, they’re puck hounds, they’re on the puck, they’re intelligent, their habits are probably above their age,” said Appert, who coached Beniers with the U.S. National Team Development Program