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Training Camp Day 1 Recap

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Sabres had three sessions and scrimmage today

Ottawa Senators vs Buffalo Sabres
Dan Bylsma behind the bench
Photo by Tom Brenner/ Getty Images

The Buffalo Sabres are one day into their 2016-17 season training camp which featured three training sessions and one scrimmage.

In no particular order, here’s what happened on the first day -

Two spots still up for grabs

The 13th forward and 7th defenseman spots are still vacant as we go into training camp.

Forwards (12) Nicolas Deslauriers, Jack Eichel, Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno, Brian Gionta, Zemgus Girgensons, Evander Kane, Johan Larsson, Matt Moulson, Kyle Okposo, Ryan O’Reilly, Sam Reinhart.

Candidates: Justin Bailey, Cal O’Reilly, Evan Rodrigues, Hudson Fasching, William Carrier, Daniel Catenacci, Cole Schneider, Nicholas Baptiste and first-round pick Alexander Nylander.

Defense (6) – Zach Bogosian, Cody Franson, Josh Gorges, Dmitry Kulikov, Jake McCabe, Rasmus Ristolainen.

Candidates: Casey Nelson, Justin Falk, Taylor Fedun, Mac Bennett, Brendan Guhle and Erik Burgdoerfer.

Competition still open for other spots too

Coach Dan Bylsma insisted that the other spots weren’t necessarily settled either -

“It’s not very often that you go into camp with a flat-out open spot. At the 13th forward position and at the 7th defenseman, there’s a flat-out open spot for competition.

“That doesn’t mean there’s not competition for how those twelve that are on there and how those six that are on there are going to play. We have quite a bit of competition within our roster, whether it’s two or three or four different possibilities. That’s probably more than I’m accustomed to and more than I’ve had in the past.

“It’s easy to see the defensemen that are in the top six, then there’s a group of three or four. We play a home game and then we go out west. We’re definitely going to be having seven defensemen go out west.”

World Cup of Hockey participants

Ryan O’Reilly (Team Canada) and Dmitry Kulikov (Team Russia) are still in the competition and play this weekend. Jack Eichel (Team North America) and Rasmus Ristolainen (Team Finland) were eliminated in the round robin section of the tournament.

Bylsma commented on Eichel -

“We’ll see him back at the rink the next couple days and have a conversation about when he’ll get back on the ice. We do not have him scheduled for the first two exhibition games.”

Nothing was said about Ristolainen who remains without a contract, and per NHLPA rules would not be allowed to attend training camp. However, the player’s name is on the Sabres’ camp roster, so we’ll see how that situation gets resolved.

Bylsma to talk to Kane again

“I have had a conversation. I didn’t have a formal sitdown conversation. We talked four days ago, five days ago. Yes, there will be a conversation about the expectations from Evander both on and off the ice. I think Evander’s eager to get here and put him behind, so to speak, and get to the business of playing hockey.”

Three practice groups today

From the Sabres site -

GOLD

63 Tyler Ennis - 22 Johan Larsson - 21 Kyle Okposo

71 Evan Rodrigues - 19 Cal O'Reilly - 56 Justin Bailey

48 William Carrier - 17 Vasily Glotov - 52 Hudson Fasching

42 Justin Kea

29 Jake McCabe - 6 Cody Franson

46 Justin Falk - 38 Taylor Fedun

54 Brycen Martin - 79 Vojtech Budik

40 Robin Lehner

33 Jason Kasdorf

BLUE

9 Evander Kane - 23 Sam Reinhart - 70 Alexander Nylander

10 Cole Schneider - 27 Derek Grant - 74 Vaclav Karabacek

86 Eric Cornel - 72 Jean Dupuy - 65 Daniel Muzito-Bagenda

59 Cliff Pu

81 Mac Bennett - 47 Zach Bogosian

45 Brendan Guhle - 34 Casey Nelson

51 Austin Osmanski

31 Anders Nilsson

60 John Muse

WHITE

82 Marcus Foligno - 28 Zemgus Girgensons - 12 Brian Gionta

44 Nicolas Deslauriers - 20 Daniel Catenacci - 26 Matt Moulson

13 Brandon Hagel - 37 Giorgio Estephan - 78 Nicholas Baptiste

4 Josh Gorges - 5 Erik Burgdoerfer

57 Brady Austin - 41 Devante Stephens

3 Paul Geiger - 24 Tyson Strachan

35 Linus Ullmark

Blue blows out Gold in first scrimmage

Gold had the disadvantage of practising just before the scrimmage, and looked tired as Blue wiped the ice 5-0 with them. Local boy Cole Schneider was the MVP with three goals while Evander Kane and Vaclav Karabacek got the others. Two of the goals were deflections in front of the goal, but they all count. Bylsma was impressed by Schneider, calling him one of the best forwards on the ice today.

Miscellaneous notes

  • Tempo is the word of the day. Are we going to see a different style of play from the Sabres this season?
  • Will Matt Moulson be able to bounce back this season?
  • Cody Franson had health issues last season.
  • Typos won’t keep backup goalie Anders Nilsson down. He had a shutout and made some tough saves too. He had a penalty shot save on William Carrier after he got the nameplate replaced.

“By now, most fans know that Lehner lost a significant amount of weight in the offseason, and today, you could tell. After practice, even Lehner's teammates were talking about it. Defenseman Jake McCabe said his hard work stood out and he's confident Lehner will show just how good he is.”

  • This combo could be deadly
  • What else did you see or hear on Day One? Share in the comments below.