What to watch for at Sabres development camp
The Sabres young guns will head to the ice today. What are the most important story lines to follow when you're going down to watch?
The Sabres top prospects will all be in town this week to take part in the team's annual development camp. With the players taking the ice today, here are the storylines that are worth following as fans watch the Sabres' future at First Niagara Center.
First look at Sam Reinhart
Today is the first chance to see Sam Reinhart on the ice donning the Sabres logo, and he'll obviously be the center of attention for many. The second overall pick in this year's draft is the crown jewel of the Sabres prospect pool. He signed his entry-level deal two days ago.
He'll be joined on the ice by all of the Sabres picks from this year's draft, including second round picks Brendan Lemieux, Eric Cornel, and Vaclav Karabacek.
Grigorenko tries to get back on track
Mikhail Grigorenko has fallen out of favor for many, but 20-years-old he has plenty of time to prove he was worth the hype. He's documented his training on his facebook this summer, saying that he's in the best shape of his life and that he has bulked up to 219 lbs.
After bouncing between the Sabres and the QMJHL the past two years Grigorenko is finally old enough to be able to play in the AHL. He started making strides when he was able to play for the Americans at the end of the season last year, and the Sabres hope he's ready to built on that for this year.
The Sabres will have all but one of their top goaltending prospects, as Matt Hackett is the only tender not on the development camp roster. Fans will get a chance to see Nathan Lieuwen, Andrej Makarov, recently signed Linus Ullmark, and recently drafted Jonas Johansson.
Lieuwen got his first chance in Buffalo last season and played in seven games, posting a .906 save percentage and a 2.98 GAA. He'll be competing with Hackett for the starting job in Rochester this season.
Makorov turned heads in Rochester, as he was a vital part in their late season playoff run. Despite playing a majority of the season in the ECHL, he was 7-3-0 in ten games with the Amerks. He'll be getting more time at that level this season.
Ullmark recently signed his entry-level deal, but will be reportedly be heading back to Sweden for one more season. He started 35 games last season for Modo in the top level in Sweden, showing signs that he could have a real shot at making the NHL some day.
Johansson, an impressive 6'4", was taken with the 61st pick in this year's draft.
Young defensemen on display
Reinhart may be the latest shiny toy for Sabres fans to look forward to, but he isn't the only one. Rasmus Ristolainen, Nikita Zadorov, Jake McCabe and Mark Pysyk will all be taking part in this week's camp. Where the four defensemen will end up is still a bit up in the air.
Now in his third season with Buffalo, Pysyk will likely start the year in the NHL. Ristolainen and McCabe could play in Rochester or Buffalo, depending on which the Sabres feel benefits them more, while Zadorov will likely head back to juniors.
College stars come to Buffalo
JT Compher had a very successful freshman season at Michigan, scoring 11 goals and 20 assists in 35 games and topping it off by being named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. With Jamie McBain gone, he is the only remaining piece of the Andrej Sekera to Carolina trade.
This will also be the first time Hudson Fasching suits up in a Sabres uniform. He was acquired at the trade deadline from Los Angeles along with Nic Deslauriers. This year Fasching scored 14 goals and 16 assists as a freshman and was a part of the Golden Gophers team that made it all the way to the championship.
Jordan Samuels-Thomas, recently acquired from Winnipeg, will be making his debut as well. He scored 13 goals and 16 assists as a senior at Quinnipiac this year.
You can download the full roster here and check out the full schedule of events here. Today the Sabres will be taking part in practice from 10:30 until 12:15.