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Prospects Challenge: What to Watch

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We finally got to see the players that will be competing in the Prospects Challenge and now it’s time to figure out what to focus on

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday the clubs competing in the Prospects Challenge this weekend at HARBORCENTER in Buffalo released their rosters. The Buffalo Sabres will feature a roster of top end prospects, but so will the other three teams in the round-robin tournament.

For some players, this will be a chance for them to set the tone heading into training camp and for others, it’ll be an opportunity to make a final impression before they head off to where they’ll be playing this season.

Dahlin’s Debut

The main headline of the week will be the 2018 first overall pick, Rasmus Dahlin, playing his first hockey games wearing a Sabres sweater. He’ll be the biggest name playing in the tournament between the four clubs.

We’ll see if the skilled Swede can make a few highlight reel plays and give fans a glimpse of what to expect next season.

Veterans Standing Out

Outside of Dahlin, it’ll be interesting to watch the “veteran” players like Brendan Guhle, Casey Mittelstadt, Tage Thompson and Alex Nylander to see if they can stand out throughout the weekend.

All three of the four aforementioned players will be competing for roster spots when training camp gets underway in a week. Only Mittelstadt has a position carved out for him.

Guhle and Nylander are two players in particular that I’ll be keeping an eye on to see if they can get off to a good start.

The New Swedes

The roster will feature the three other big Swedish imports outside of Dahlin. Victor Olofsson, Rasmus Asplund, and Lawrence Pilut will all dress this weekend for the Sabres. All three bring their own levels of intrigue.

Olofsson has the special shot, Pilut caught the attention of fans at Development Camp with his skating and skill. Asplund is polarizing because of his solid two-way game and outside potential to earn a roster spot in camp.

Oskari Laaksonen

One of the players I’ll have my eye on is Finnish defender Oskari Laaksonen. The 2017 third-round pick who wasn’t on the many draft boards, including NHL Central Scouting rankings has developed into a player with a lot of potential.

He’s a smooth skater with an offensive flair and solid puck-moving ability in his game. The 6’2” defender has worked his way into a prominent role on Team Finland’s U20 junior team for the upcoming World Junior Championship.

Outside of the Sabres players the other teams will bring some top level talent. Players such as Ty Smith (NJ), Michael McLeod (NJ), Ryan Donato (BOS), Urho Vaakanainen (BOS), and Calen Addison (PIT).

You can find all the other details on the Prospects Challenge here.