For the past few years, the Buffalo Sabres prospects pool has been rated one of the league's deepest and most talented. The New Jersey Devils prospect pool has not shared the same high esteem league-wide, and last night that discrepency was evident as the Sabres beat the Devils 6-2 in their opening game of the Prospects Challenge.
Evan Rodrigues was the star of the night, scoring a goal and adding two assists, while his former BU teammate Jack Eichel added an assist. Their line was clicking all night, with third wheel Nick Baptiste adding two goals himself, one of them coming just 25 second in to the game.
Rodrigues impressed both his coaches and teammates, and earned plenty of praise after the game. This, from Sabres.com:
"He's a pretty good player, huh? I think he kind of flew under the radar a little bit last year in college and I think he's definitely making a name for himself," Eichel said of his former college teammate. "You see his skill and he's a good player for sure, I think he's gonna show a lot of people that."
"He was one of the best tonight of the group," Amerks coach Randy Cunneyworth said of Rodrigues." I thought he's shown that niftiness -puck skills, stick skills - that he can get away from guys, have that little juke and find the pass or take the shot if he needs."
The other three Buffalo goals were scored by Sam Reinhart, Justin Bailey, and Cason Hohmann, another former BU product who signed his AHL contract this summer. In net, Andrey Makarov stopped all 14 shots he faced, and was replaced by former Cansius College goalie Keegan Asmundson, in what must have been a great moment for the local netminder.
The game wasn't televised or streamed (boo) but we've got the highlights from all six Sabres goals.
The Sabres will play their second and final game of the Challenge on Monday night against the baby Bruins.