The Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday signed Russian forward Viktor Neuchev, a third-round pick in 2022, 74th overall, to a three-year, entry-level contract.
Neuchev, 19, spent the 2022-23 season in the Kontinental Hockey League, registering four goals, 12 points and 17 penalty minutes in 57 games for Yekaterinburg Automobilist.
The Sabres drafted the 6-foot-2, 165-pound Neuchev after a standout year in which the 40 goals and 67 points he compiled in 61 games led Yekaterinburg’s junior team.
Prior to last year’s NHL Draft, the Sabres’ analytics staff had Neuchev graded as a first-round pick.
General manager Kevyn Adams said last month the Sabres want to sign some of their Russian prospects – they’ve drafted six in the last two years – who have been playing in their homeland. Those youngsters, of course, must have expired contracts with their KHL clubs.
Defenseman Nikita Novikov, a sixth-round pick in 2021, 188th overall, has finished his deal with Moscow Dynamo.