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Sabres vs. Devils Preview: Prospects Challenge begins

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Buffalo opens the Prospects Challenge tonight at the HarborCenter

Buffalo Sabres v Florida Panthers Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Game #1 (of three)

Buffalo Sabres (0-0-0) vs. New Jersey Devils (0-0-0)

Puck drop: 7 p.m. EST | HarborCenter | Buffalo, NY

TV: Sabres.com

SB Nation’s Devils Blog: All About New Jersey

Three words: Hockey. Is. Back.

I’ll be at the HarborCenter this weekend covering the Sabres’ Prospects Challenge games against the New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins. The action kicks off tonight, as the Sabres, led by the highly talented line of Justin Bailey, Alexander Nylander and Nick Baptiste, host Will Butcher and the New Jersey Devils.

I’ll be livetweeting from our Die By The Blade Twitter account tonight, and you can join me in person for just $10.

Three Questions

1. Will New Jersey take advantage of the Sabres’ weak point, their defense?

While the Sabres’ roster boasts some of the team’s top prospects, few are on the blue line. Brendan Guhle (ranked third among Sabres prospects by Kris Baker) is clearly the best, there isn’t another player ranked in Baker’s top 20 Sabres prospects.

2. Will Nico Hischier have an impact?

New Jersey’s roster boasts this year’s first-overall pick, Swiss center Nico Hischier. Although he’s more anonymous than nearly all the recent No. 1 picks, many are excited to see how his skill translates to the NHL.

3. How will Will Butcher be received by the Buffalo crowd?

The former Hobey Baker-winning defenseman enters hostile grounds for his first professional hockey experience. Butcher chose to sign with the Devils instead of the Sabres and a handful of other suitors, though Buffalo was reportedly in his final three. There’s a good chance Butcher gets some boos as others in the past have gotten by not choosing the Sabres.

Sabres Roster

Forwards

Justin Bailey, Nick Baptiste, Colin Blackwell, Eric Cornell, Justin Danforth, Hudson Fasching, Vasily Glotov, Brandon Hagel, Vaclav Karabacek, Alex Kile, Sean Malone, Daniel Muzito-Bagenda, Alexander Nylander, Cliff Pu, C.J. Smith

Defensemen

Arvin Atwal, Vojtech Budik, Anthony Florentino, Brendan Guhle, Brycen Martin, Carl Neill, Austin Osmanski, Devante Stephens

Goalies

Jonas Johansson, Jake McGrath