20240429 Quinn

Mattias Samuelsson spent plenty of time with Jack Quinn as the two players rehabbed injuries that sidelined them for large portions of the second half of this past season.

When Quinn returned to the lineup in late March and quickly experienced success, it came as no surprise to Samuelsson, his teammate the past two years in Buffalo and before that in Rochester.

“I would say it didn’t shock me because I know how good he is,” Samuelsson said. “I think Quinner’s a hell of a player, super talented, super detail oriented, I guess you could say. He loves learning little new things. I think he’s a really good hockey player.

“I think it was pretty impressive, too, what he was able to do with how a short of a time he was in games. I got no worries from Quinner going forward. He’ll be a hell of a hockey player for a long time.”

Quinn was limited to 27 games this season due to two long-term injuries: an Achilles’ tendon injury that required offseason surgery and forced him to miss the first 32 games of the season, then a second lower-body injury that also required surgery and kept him out for all of February and most of March.

When he was on the ice, the 22-year-old was able to build on the promise he showed as a rookie in 2022-23. He scored nine goals and 19 points in his abbreviated sophomore season, including 16 points at even strength.

At 5-on-5, Quinn averaged 2.93 points per 60 minutes – a rate which ranked fifth among NHL players with at least 20 games played behind Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon, Nikita Kucherov, and Auston Matthews. The names immediately after Quinn on that list: David Pastrnak, Artemi Panarin, and Sidney Crosby.

“It was great to be back in the lineup for myself and, you know, try to help the team win,” Quinn said. “And I think we’re really close to being a really good team in this league, and we’re gonna do everything we can to be there next year.”

Jack Quinn addresses the media

Quinn looked like he hadn’t skipped a beat upon making his season debut on Dec. 19. He scored four goals in his first seven games, then had the first three-point night of his young career with a goal and two assists in Los Angeles on Jan. 24.

The very next game, in San Jose on Jan. 27, a third-period collision left Quinn injured along the boards. While his teammates dispersed for the All-Star break, Quinn had his second surgery in less than a year.

His presence off the ice never wavered. Quinn remained visible in the Sabres’ dressing room following his second injury, oftentimes alongside Samuelsson.

“He's always fighting,” said JJ Peterka, Quinn’s frequent linemate dating back to their days in Rochester. “When he was injured, he was in the locker room the whole time. Trying to come back, always has a smile on his face, bring good energy. And, yeah, just to see then coming back twice from injury and playing that well afterwards is I think not easy to do and he did a heck of a job.”

Jack Quinn's top points from 2023-24

Quinn made his second return on March 27. There was an adjustment period this time around, having not had the chance to practice with the team before entering the lineup. He had an assist in his fourth game back, then scored two goals against Philadelphia in his fifth game.

The game against the Flyers showed the full breadth of Quinn’s game as both a savvy defender and a lethal offensive threat. He skated 2:03 shorthanded, blocked two shots, buried a rebound for one goal and found open ice in the slot before releasing his hard, deceptive wrist shot for the other.

“He’s a shooter,” Rasmus Dahlin said that night. “He can deke, too, though. His shot is unbelievable, the release he’s got. He’s just got to continue to shoot and he will be a top scorer in this league, I think.”

With a full summer in front of him, Quinn aims to set himself up for more regular contributions next season.

“You’re always working on your game and trying to get better,” he said. “But for me, you know, just really disappointed in the games I missed this year with injury. So, just doing everything I can for my body to be able to play in every game next year.”