It’s easy to get overly excited about development camp. Any group of highly skilled, largely NHL-caliber hockey players will typically look pretty good working through drills. Especially small-area skill drills with minimal defensive challenge. There’s plenty to glean from the week as fans, media and coaches have the opportunity to see players perform in a variety of settings but crowning greatness from the endeavor can be tricky.
I’ve been guilty of taking too much away from the camp myself. Back in 2012 I was convinced that Judd Peterson was sure to be a late-round gem due to his development camp performance. Since then I’ve tried to avoid falling into the same trap. I’ve found it helpful to focus on individual growth and skills rather than trying to project any sort of impact onto the Buffalo Sabres roster. In other words, I’m not trying to name an MVP based on the stickhandling drills they did on Friday.
There are some obvious caveats to this. Casey Mittlestadt’s coming out party last year helped to erase some of the doubts people had about him heading into the draft. Even just a few weeks removed from his draft Mittelstadt was among the most skilled players at the camp and his play certainly inspired confidence in the fanbase, and perhaps the organization as well. But there are just as many cases where an impressive camp performance won’t accurately reflect where a player stands organizationally. So I try to keep that in mind when attending camp.
With that in mind, I’m going to try something a little different with my round up. This will be more of a notebook, touching on players who showed either growth or intriguing upside based on their play. Continue reading →
Sabres Development Camp wrapped up with the French Connection Tournament yesterday and in the wake of another mid-summer peek at Buffalo’s prospect pipeline, Chris and Tyler share their thoughts on who stood out from the crowd over the weekend. In addition, we offer up some thoughts on the contract status of Robin Lehner, Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel. Although we don’t spend very much time on #15.
There will be a strong pro presence at this year’s Sabres Development Camp thanks to a host of older prospects who will Buffalo’s recent draft classes at the team’s annual summer camp.
Justin Bailey, Nick Baptiste, Hudson Fasching, Brendan Guhle, Sean Malone, Alex Nylander and CJ Smith all saw time with the big club last season and are part of a larger group of 13 players who enter development camp with a professional contract.
While this group might not necessarily be as sexy as the 2015 camp headlined by Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart, the impressive stable of talent at this year’s development camp will likely draw the attention of the most prospect apathetic fans like @buffalowins. Thanks to the presence of the last two first round picks and a number of other intriguing prospects, this year’s development camp has the potential to provide some entertaining and insightful results.
Since there will be so many players with pro experience at camp, the skill level ought to be higher than previous years. However, with that skill level comes the expectation of dominance for more developed prospects. The likes of Bailey, Fasching and Guhle should stand out this weekend and the only real surprise would be if someone from the group of incumbent pros doesn’t look heads and shoulders better than some of the younger attendees.
I always have a handful of players I look forward to seeing at camp but I had trouble whittling down this year’s roster to just five or six intriguing names. So, because there were so many players I had hoped to see, and in the interest of being a bit different from the other Development Camp previews that are out there, I thought I’d provide a few groups of players who offer the most intrigue to me. You may not have as much interest in these groups or individuals as I do, but these will be the players I’m keeping track of this weekend in the hopes that they’re on track to become long-term contributors for the Sabres. Continue reading →
The Sabres are hosting their annual Development Camp this week, perhaps you’ve heard. The week’s festivities will be capped by Friday’s Blue-Gold scrimmage and Sunday’s three-on-three tournament.Development Camp stream would be and easy win for the Sabres
So far there have been all sorts of #fun and #engaging parts of the week as we’ve seen grainy videos shot at terrible angles of prospects doing hockey things. Friday’s scrimmage will provide fans their first chance to see Jack Eichel (and all the other prospects) in game action. It’s a quasi-debut of the franchise-altering prospect and the team is all but guaranteed to out-draw last year’s scrimmage which had fans seated in the upper deck of the arena.
The only way you can see the game, however, is to make your way to First Niagara Center. Tickets are $10 and proceeds are going to charity. All-in-all this is a good way to capitalize on an event that will come with plenty of fan frenzy while giving back to the community. Unlike last season, the Sabres will not be providing a stream for Friday’s scrimmage which has disappointed a fair segment of the fanbase. Particularly those who don’t live in Buffalo.
The reasons for the Sabres failing to stream Friday’s game haven’t been made public. I imagine the reasoning is close to the justification Lewis Black once gave for the lack of a national energy policy.
Because it’s hard. It’s really hard. Makes me want to go poopie. – Lewis Black
Girgensons was one of the most impressive players at the camp this week, using his straight-line, physical style to impress most who walked through the doors of First Niagara Center. He turned in the highlight of the Blue and Gold scrimmage last night, with a nifty goal against Nathan Lieuwen in the second period.
Between the two 2012 first round picks, Girgensons probably stood out more for the things he did. The highlight reel goal last night, a similarly impressive goal in individual drills the day before and playing with a lot of energy at all times during the week.
Mikhail Grigorenko wasn’t making highlights every time he touched the puck, which is probably what some expected. However, his unique skillset was certainly on display and he showed why he was ranked near the top of the draft. His core strength needs to improve so that he isn’t easily knocked off the puck.
Personally, I thought he may have been trying to do a bit too much at times during the week. When he let the game come to him and settled down, he was able to make some awesome plays. In addition to his slick shootout goal, he had a great give-and-go that turned into a beautiful cross-zone pass to Corey Feinhage for a goal.
Grigorenko will get every chance to make the team when training camp and the presseason come along. I expect that he will also get his nine-game audition before any final decision is made. Continue reading →