Thursday, July 17, 2014

Intriguing matchups for tonight's scrimmage

Reprinted with permission from

After watching the youngins hit the ice today, a few things popped out:

The White team is going to have a tough time against both Andrey Makarov and Cal Peterson. Both rarely got beat today during their drills, showing a little "Dominator-like" attitude--they did not want the puck getting behind them. At all.

Makarov can really flash the leather and he's really confident.

Last year's run to the playoffs and solid five-game series vs. Chicago got him rolling, and it looks as if he's ready to bust through another threshold this season. Nathan Lieuwen, who looks to be the Amerks starter better look out.

Peterson looks nothing like a 20 yr. old. He's about as poised as they come. It will be interesting to see where he is a couple of years from now.

The White team will also have a tough time getting by the top pairing for Team Blue--Rasmus Ristolainen and Jake McCabe.

Risto looks NHL-ready while McCabe may only need one season in Rochester before he's knocking on the door of the big club.

What the Blue Team is to defense, the White team is to offense.

White is lead upfront by Sam Reinhart. On the right wing he'll have Joel Armia and on the left is Brendan Lemieux.

Lemieux looks as if he lives and breathes hockey 24/7. His stick is an extension of his body and it's natural for him to be on the ice with the puck. He's got wicked quick shot and can pick a corner at will.

There are other names up front but Max Willman, a 2014 5th round pick (#151) might be one to keep an eye on.

Although somewhat small (6'0" 174 lbs.)compared to some of the trees Buffalo has, he has sweet hands. He seemingly knows in advance where that opening will be and seems to be able to hit it.

On defense, look for 6'4" 237 lb. Brady Austin to be throwing around players like ragdolls.

Austin is a former London Knights team mate of Nikita Zadorov and is slated for the AHL this season. Where his career ultimately ends up is still an unknown, but he's a powerful man, something that's never taken lightly by NHL teams.

If your're going downtown, have a good time. The rebuild is on and some of these players will have key roles in the future of the Sabres. And it's a great setting to get a first-hand glimpse of what they have to offer.


The youngins will be hitting the First Niagara Center Ice tonight at 7pm.

Sabres GM Tim Murray, Sabres bench boss Ted Nolan and Rochester Amerks head coach Chadd Cassidy unleashed the teams:


65 Jordan Samuels-Thomas - 28 Zemgus Girgensons - 10 William Carrier
47 Daniel Catenacci - 25 Mikhail Grigorenko - 24 Hudson Fasching
21 Jonathon Martin - 38 Sean Malone - 15 Justin Bailey
41 Liam Pecararo - 37 Colin Jacobs - 44 Victor Olofsson

72 Brycen Martin - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
29 Jake McCabe - 4 Anthony Florentino
5 Andrew Prochno

35 Andrey Makarov
31 Calvin Petersen


78 Brendan Lemieux - 23 Sam Reinhart - 33 Joel Armia
45 Eric Cornel - 17 JT Compher - 20 Nicholas Baptiste
22 Drake Caggiula - 27 Tim Schaller - 13 Kevin Sundher
46 Maxwell Willman - 32 Justin Kea - 12 Patrick Russell

61 Nikita Zadorov - 3 Mark Pysyk
52 Brady Austin - 34 Jerome Gauthier-Leduc
6 Brandon Prophet

40 Linus Ullmark
31 Jonas Johansson

In looking at the groupings, it would seem as if White team goalies Linus Ullmark and Jonas Johansson are gonna have their hands full.

2014 2nd overall pick Sam Reinhart will be looking for fellow first rounder Joel Armia (2011) while 2014 second round pick Brendan Lemieux (#31 overall) will be working the corners feeding both.

It's a formidable first line.

And the White team doesn't stop there.

JT Compher, the 2014 Big Ten Freshman of the Year will be centering another potent line featuring a very young and talented Eric Cornel and recently inked Nicholas Baptiste.

It will be interesting to see just how much defensemen Nikita Zadorov and Mark Pysyk jump into the play for Team White.

The Blue team will counter with the two-way acumen of Zemgus Girgensons centering recently acquired and signed Jordan Samuels-Thomas and William Carrier who was acquired at the deadline in the Ryan Miller trade.

It's a huge, punishing line as both Samuels-Thomas and Carrier are big, strong power forwards.

The second line for the Blue Team features speed demon Daniel Catenacci on the wing with Mikhail Grigorenko and Hudson Fasching.

Grigorenko added some bulk this off season and will be looking to play off of Catenacci stick work while Fasching will be camping around the net.

Rasmus Ristolainen will be anchoring the Blue team defense along with 2014 third round pick Brycen Martin.

That pairing will have their hands full with a stacked White Team.

As always, there will be one or two prospects how will catch your eye, but this looks to be one of the most competitive, fun scrimmages to date.

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