(WGR 550) - A pair of Buffalo Sabres players have earned honors for performances during the course of the 2022-23 season.
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Starting with Sabres winger JJ Peterka, he has been named as one of seven finalist by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) for the Male Player of the Year Award.
The 21-year-old represented Germany at the 2023 IIHF World Championship last month in Latvia and Finland, and was named the tournament's Best Forward. In his 10 games played for Germany, Peterka scored six goals and added six assists for 12 points, which tied the tournament lead in scoring.
Peterka was also named to the tournament's Media All-Star Team.
The other six players up for the honor are forwards Andres Ambuhl (Switzerland), Connor Bedard (Canada), Adam Fantilli (Canada) and Dominik Kubalik (Czechia), as well as defenseman Moritz Seider (Germany) and goalie Arturs Silovs (Latvia).
The native of Munich put up a respectable rookie season in the NHL this past year with the Sabres, scoring 12 goals and adding 20 assists for 32 points. He finished the 2022-23 campaign tied for 10th in league scoring among rookies.
Peterka was Buffalo's second-round pick (34th overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft.
Meanwhile, forward Jiri Kulich was honored by the American Hockey League on Wednesday by being named to the inaugural AHL Top Prospects Team. This honor was determined by the league’s hockey operations department in conjunction with AHL general managers. It consists of three forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender projected to be the best future NHL players.
Kulich put together one of the most productive seasons ever by an 18-year-old skater during the 2022-23 season, tallying 24 goals and 22 assists for 46 points in 62 games with the Rochester Americans. He finished his rookie season in North America tied as the 11th-best rookie scorer in the AHL.
In 12 Calder Cup Playoff games for the Amerks, Kulich scored seven goals and added another four assists for 11 points.
Kulich did miss some time action this season in the AHL when he took time to participate in the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Playing with his native Czechia, the Kadan native scored seven goals and two assists for nine points in seven games. He helped the Czechs win a silver medal in the tournament.
The now 19-year-old was one of three first-round picks (28th overall) for the Sabres in the 2022 NHL Draft.