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Scouting the Enemy: Who to watch at the Prospects Challenge

By now you know who is on the Sabres prospect roster, but who are the mysterious people that they’ll be matching up against? Here are the top prospects that will be suiting up for New Jersey and Boston during the Prospects Challenge this week.

New Jersey Devils

Pavel Zacha, forward- The 6th overall pick in this year’s draft, Zacha is already ranked as the Devils’ top prospect. A couple years ago, before Jack Eichel entered the picture, Zacha was considered one of the most likely players to go second overall in the 2015 draft. His season in Sarnia was shortened by injury and suspensions, but produced well, scoring 34 points in 37 games.

Raman Hrabarenka, defense- The Belarusian defenseman played 47 games with the Albany Devils this season, scoring a career high nine goals and 18 assists. He’ll likely get playing time at the NHL level this season.

Mackenzie Blackwood, goalie- The second goalie taken in this year’s draft, Blackwood got some attention around here before the Sabres traded for Robin Lehner. He had a strong season with the Barrie Colts, finishing fourth in wins and posting an impressive .922 save percentage in the postseason.

John Quenneville, forward- Joel Quennville’s second cousin, John scored 47 points in 57 games with the Brandon Wheat Kings last season. A first-round pick in the 2014 draft, he’ll be jumping to pros after this final season of juniors.

The Devils are without their 2nd, 3rd and 4th best prospects as ranked by Mike Morreale of NHL.com.

Boston Bruins

Jakub Zboril, Jake DeBrusk and Zach Senyshyn- The Bruins turned heads this off-season, making trades that gave them the 13th, 14th and 15th pick. Although rumors swirled about them using this ammunition to move up, they stayed pat and took three players that were ranked further down the draft board by Central Scouting. All three players failed their conditioning test at Bruins rookie camp earlier this week.

Brandon Carlo, defense- Carlo was selected in the second round of this year’s draft after a solid season in Tri City. The 6’5″ defenseman made the USA U-20 World Junior roster, notching one assist in five games. He scored four goals in juniors last season and is known more as a defensive defenseman.

Zane McIntyre, goalie- Named the top goalie in college hockey while with North Dakota last season, McIntyre was one of three finalists for the Hobey Baker. It would take all day to list all the awards he won last season. He had a very impressive .929 save percentage and a 29-10-3 record.

The Bruins are without their 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 9th best prospects as ranked by Hockey’s Future.

The Sabres kick off their play at the tournament tonight at 7 pm. If you want to watch it and can’t make it down to the arena, unfortunately you are out of luck. The Sabres are not streaming the game, but it will be aired on WGR 550. If you’re looking to attend the game, it sounds like there are a lot of tickets left.

Talking Points