The Sabres Blue and Gold scrimmage is always an interesting game, and our first glimpse at players who might be ready to take the next step next year. And on each team, there was a player who stood out among the rest - Justin Bailey for Team Blue and Alexander Nylander for Team Gold.
The game started with a quick pace, but Blue dominated most of the first period, going up 3-0 thanks to goals from Nick Baptiste, Judd Peterson, and Christopher Brown, who benefited from a nice rush to the net from Justin Bailey. Gold would get a late goal on a nice move from Georgio Estephan, who dangled a loose puck through goalie Cal Petersen’s legs.
As the second period began, 2016 second round pick Rasmus Asplund earned a penalty shot (penalties automatically become penalty shots rather than power plays) and sadly missed. However, he redeemed himself just minutes later by using a nice move to slide one under the pads of Jonas Johansson to put Blue back up 4-1.
Gold got back on track thanks to a sick shootout move from Alexander Nylander. The Sabres top pick this year came in lightning fast, and used his speed to poke a nifty deke past Antoine Samuel. Nylander would go on to score another beautiful goal toward the end of the game using a very similar move, and has proven himself to be a shootout wizard throughout camp.
Eric Cornel would also add a goal for the Blue team, who ended up with a 5-3 win in a spirited, fast-paced scrimmage.
Of the players who stood out today, Justin Bailey was truly a man among boys. Bailey really showed his power forward skills, constantly lowering his shoulder and driving defensemen back towards their own net. Judging by this performance, he’ll be making a real push to make the NHL roster in training camp.
Alex Nylander also showed why he was a #8 overall pick, with his speed, vision, and sick mitts on display throughout the game. Some people complained about the $20 ticket today, but this kid made it worthwhile. Other forwards who showed well were William Carrier, Nicholas Baptiste, and Victor Olofsson, while on the defensive side, Brendan Guhle, Will Borgen, and goalie Cal Petersen looked solid.
All in all, it was an interesting camp for Sabres fans, approximately 1600 of which were in attendance at HARBORCenter, because there was no Reinhart or Eichel “crown jewel” type of prospect. But players like Nylander and Bailey proved that Sabres fans have much to look forward to come training camp in September.
Update: Check out the highlights below.