The puck drops Friday night on the 2012 Memorial Cup, and like in recent years, the Buffalo Sabres will have some rooting interest this year too. Sabres' first round pick in 2010 defenseman prospect Mark Pysyk will be captaining the Edmonton Oil in only the first ever Memorial Cup appearance in their five-year history. The schedule for the event can be found here.
The Memorial Cup is a tournament that pits the champions of the three junior Canadian Hockey Leagues (CHL) along with the host team. This year Shawinigan is hosting the tournament, with the home team Cataractes a very long shot to win outright. The Oil Kings are representing the WHL, while London Knights won the OHL and favorites (and defending champions) Saint John Sea Dogs are the reigning QMJHL champions.
Sabres spend a good proportion of their resources scouting the 59-team CHL, and many of the players in the system come through from the junior leagues. A quick look at the rosters of the last few Cup participants contain quite a few Sabres, as well as a bunch of NHL players that have been lighting it up in the league in recent times.
2011: Sabres - Gregg Sutch, Nathan Lieuwen, Brayden McNabb. NHL - Andrew Shaw, Cody Eakin.
2010: Sabres - (Zack Kassian). NHL - Travis Hamonic, Brayden Schenn, Ryan Ellis, Cam Fowler, Taylor Hall, Adam Henrique, Gabriel Bourque.
2009: Sabres - Tyler Myers. NHL - Dmitry Kulikov, Sean Couturier, Jamie Benn, Jordan Caron, Ryan Ellis, Taylor Hall, Adam Henrique.
2008: Sabres - (Paul Byron). NHL - Yannick Weber, Nazem Kadri, Mikkel Boedker, P.K. Subban, Eric Tangradi, Claude Giroux.
2007: Sabres - Tyler Ennis. NHL - Cody Franson, Evander Kane, Milan Lucic, Michal Neuvirth, James Neal, Jonathan Bernier, David Perron, Kris Russell, Darren Helm, Derek Dorsett.