Justin Kea
Image: NHL

Justin Kea


Woodville Ontario

Currently Playing In:






Eligible for draft:









3rd round (73rd overall), 2012


211 lbs.

<<<<<<< Updated upstream

2009-10: Justin Kea played for the Central Ontario Wolves midget AAA program in the Ontario Minor Hockey Association. He scored 22 goals with 22 assists. Kea was selected by the Saginaw Spirit in the first round (13th overall) of the OHL Priority Draft.

2010-11: Kea skated in 62 games in his first season with Saginaw and represented Ontario in the 2011 U17 World Hockey Challenge. He scored 2 goals with 6 assists and was minus-five with 49 penalty minutes for the Spirit. Saginaw reached the second round of the OHL playoffs after finishing first in the West Division. In ten playoff games Kea had 1 assist and was minus-one. In five games at the WHC he had 1 assist with 8 penalty minutes for the gold medal-winning Ontario squad.

2011-12: Kea returned to Saginaw for his second season. In 65 games he scored 3 goals with 11 assists and was minus-four with 76 penalty minutes. Saginaw again reached the second round of the playoffs before falling to OHL champion London. In 12 playoff games Kea scored 1 goal with 4 assists and was plus-three with 2 penalty minutes. He was ranked 93rd amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings prior to the 2012 NHL Draft.

2012-13: Kea provided toughness and a scoring touch for Saginaw in his third OHL season with the Spirit. One of four players to skate in all 68 games, he scored 22 goals with 26 assists, both career highs, and was +12 while finishing second on Saginaw with 102 penalty minutes. Saginaw finished fourth in the West Division and was swept by league champion London in a first round playoff series. Kea scored 1 goal and was -5 with 7 penalty minutes in four playoff games. He spent time with the AHL’s Rochester Americans in April but did not appear in any games.

2013-14: Kea signed a three-year entry-level contract with Buffalo in April 2014 and made his pro debut with AHL affiliate Rochester following his fourth OHL season with Saginaw. Kea had no points nor penalties in his only AHL game with the Americans. He was the third-leading scorer for Saginaw and finished second on the team with 97 penalty minutes in his final junior season. Kea scored 22 goals with 27 assists and was -14 in 58 regular season games. The Spirit finished third in the West Division and lost to Erie in a first-round playoff series. Kea scored 1 goal with 3 assists and was +1 with no penalties in five playoff games.

2014-15: Kea played one game with Sabres’ AHL affiliate Rochester in November and two games in January — spending most of the season with the ECHL’s Elmira Jackals — before being recalled for good by the Americans at the end of February. Kea’s role with Rochester was limited — he scored 2 goals and was -56 in 26 games with the Amerks. In 35 games with the Jackals he scored 5 goals with 7 assists and was -15 with 65 penalty minutes

Talent Analysis

Kea has the size and demeanor to be an effective defensive forward and energy/enforcer-type player. Kea displayed elements of an offensive touch during his junior hockey career but he is not considered an NHL caliber scorer. His combination of size and the willingness to play defense and throw timely hits suggests some value in a lower line role.


Kea has spent most of the 2015-16 season with the AHL's Rochester Americans — playing 17 games with the ECHL's Elmira Jackals during a mid-season stretch to see more ice time — and has had a limited role primarily as an energy player and enforcer. A healthy scratch in all but six games over the first half of the season, he did not have a point in his first 20 games with the Amerks while accumulating 43 penalty minutes. Kea displayed a nice shot, scoring four goals in 17 games with the Jackals, but it does not appear that that will be his role at the higher levels. Kea looks to be a long shot at cracking an NHL roster for anything other than an occasional call-up on a night when a team needs more toughness in the lineup.  

Drastic changes afoot on Buffalo Sabres organizational depth chart

by Ryan Womeldorf
Photo: The Peterborough Petes made Eric Cornel team captain in 2015-16, and he has responded by scoring ten points in his first 10 games. (Courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

Photo: The Peterborough Petes made Eric Cornel team captain in 2015-16, and he has responded by scoring ten points in his first 10 games. (Courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)




While the last few seasons have seen a slow trickle of prospects into the Buffalo Sabres lineup, the 2015-16 season has ushered in a huge influx of young blood taking over spots. Read more»

Top 20 Buffalo Sabres prospects led by rookies Eichel and Reinhart

by Kristopher Bras
Photo: Jack Eichel, who will make the Buffalo Sabres in camp, could be the most talented American hockey player in the history of the game. (Courtesy of Ken Andersen/NHLPA via Getty Images)

Photo: Jack Eichel, who will make the Buffalo Sabres as an 18-year-old, could be the most talented American hockey player in the history of the game. (Courtesy of Ken Andersen/NHLPA via Getty Images)



The Buffalo Sabres have quickly transitioned from a desperate, broken hockey club to one full of potential and promise—and not just because of Jack Eichel. After some daring moves by GM Tim Murray during the offseason, it’s clear that the team has made it a priority to ensure its young star is surrounded with talent as he grows into an elite franchise center.

Read more»

Buffalo Sabres experiencing growing pains at all levels of organization

by Jason Chen
Montreal Canadiens v Buffalo Sabres

Photo: Buffalo Sabres forward prospect Johan Larsson has split time between the Sabres and the AHL’s Rochester Americans this season (courtesy of Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)


Despite the return of their top scorers, an influx of new talent, and the continuing development of their top players, the Rochester Americans are having a disappointing season. After making the AHL playoffs in three consecutive years, the Amerks sit last in the North Division and 14th in the Western Conference. The team has just two wins in their past 10 games.

Read more»

Rebuilding Buffalo Sabres boast deep, talented group of prospects

by Jason Chen
Jake McCabe - Buffalo Sabres

Photo: Defenseman Jake McCabe is one of several Buffalo Sabres defensive prospects who are pushing for spots in the NHL. McCabe was a second round pick from 2012. (courtesy of Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon Sportswire)


Once the Buffalo Sabres are done collecting their puzzle pieces, it will be a matter of figuring out how they will all fit together. The Sabres have the cornerstones in place with Sam Reinhart at center and Rasmus Ristolainen on defense, but the short-term focus is to make sure that every prospect in the organization takes a step forward.

Read more»