Sabres Development Camp: Day two recap

Even though there has only been two days worth of practice, it is probably safe to say the blue squad is a deeper and more talented bunch than those in gold at Sabres Development Camp.

With an opportunity to watch the gold group’s practice today I noticed that there is a little less flash as compared to the blue team anchored by Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons. The gold team’s top set of players – Luke Adam, Cody Hodgson and Corey Tropp – certainly has the most fluidity in terms of chemistry, but the rest of the squad lacks the polish of the blue team.

Day two of camp was a little more focused on game scenarios and playing in traffic as compared to day one. There was still a fair amount of flow drills done in the early going, but the latter half of the ice time was primarily centered in a scrimmage setting.

The Adam, Hodgson, Tropp trio was heads and shoulders above the rest of the group during most of the drills. They were particularly dangerous in odd-man situations, shredding the defense on a few occasions during three-on-two drills. They also had success during the final four-on-four scrimmage to close the session.

On the whole, the gold team looked a little disjointed at times during the day and there was certainly an obvious lack of chemistry from top to bottom. I’d venture a guess that two days of 4:30 wakeup calls and SEAL training coupled with a full on-ice practice with conditioning to follow would kick anyone’s ass. So perhaps that, plus the fact that a vast majority of these players have never played together has something to do with the sloppy play. Continue reading

Sabres stay focused on centers on day two of draft

With Friday’s fireworks in the rearview, Darcy Regier and his scouting staff went to work with six picks in rounds two through seven of the 2012 NHL Draft.

While they shipped off their very first pick of day two in order to draft Zemgus Girgensons, Buffalo was able to net an impressive amount of size and talent with their remaining picks. With their nine picks, the Sabres took five centers with their eight picks at the draft, picking up a pair defensemen and one goaltender.

There is no longer a need for organizational depth at center after the past two days. Counting Luke Adam, Tyler Ennis and Cody Hodgson, the Sabres have 12 centers in their system. With Girgensons and Mikhail Grigorenko flirting with an immediate jump to the professional game, these improvements will be felt at every level.

The Sabres also were able to begin re-stocking their crease after signing the only two  goalies they had in the pipeline. After a commitment to defense in the mid-2000s, the blueline still has some prospects on the way that will be enhanced by this draft.

Buffalo’s commitment to centers and adding more big, skilled players was the obvious trend in this draft and I would expect that to continue for at least one more year. For a full rundown of the Sabres draft, I will defer to Sabres Prospects. But here are a few thoughts I have on each of Buffalo’s day two picks:

Jake McCabe (2nd round, 44)

McCabe is fairly well sized and just finished up his rookie year at Wisconsin with adequate numbers. I think the most promising part of this selection is that Wisconsin has become Defenseman-U in the past  few seasons churning out talent like Ryan McDonaugh and Jake Gardiner.

Without much prior knowledge of McCabe I am happy with the choice. He played for Ron Rolston in the US Development Program and Kris Baker notes his solid two-way game as a reason to look to the future. I’d venture a guess he plays at least two seasons in the NCAA before signing a pro contract. Continue reading