Saturday, April 1, 2017

Help on the horizon? Viktor Antipin scores game-winner, while some prospects shine

Published by 3-31-2017

Russian defenseman Viktor Antipin, who may be joining the Sabres after his KHL team finishes their season, provided the game-winning goal for Metallurg Magnitogorsk vs. Ak Bars last night. In watching some of Antipin's highlights one can often find him finding open space in the slot for shots and goals and last night's eventual game-winner was no different.

Antipin joins future Sabre Victor Olofsson (2014, 181st-overall) in the spotlight. Olofsson provided the series-clinching overtime winner to send Frolunda to the Swedish Hockey League semi-finals.

Other prospects garnering attention are goalie Cal Petersen (2013, 129th) who lead Notre Dame to the Frozen Four and Western New York native Sean Malone (2013, 159th) who's Harvard Crimson will also be in Chicago vying for college hockey's national championship. Defenseman Brendan Guhle (2015, 51st,) center Giorgio Estephan (2015, 152nd) and forward Brandon Hagel (2016, 159th) are all helping their WHL teams in the playoffs.

Although the Sabres themselves are out of the playoffs once again, there's intrigue with the prospects. Sabres fans won't need to travel overseas for to see youngins in action as recently signed forward C.J. Smith looks to be making his pro debut on Sunday vs. the NY Islanders at KeyBank Center. Over in Rochester 2014 third-round pick (61st) Jonas Johansson was in goal for his first North American professional game on Saturday vs. the Binghamton Senators and came away with the win despite giving up four goals on 32 shots. Linus Ullmark (2012, 163rd) is about to finish his second pro season in goal for the organization. Ullmark spent the entire season in Rochester, has played in 52 games for the Amerks (24-26-2 record) and has faced a league-leading 1558 shots against, nearly 200 shots more than the player behind him.

There are some promising players paying their dues in various developmental leagues for Buffalo and it would seem as if the Sabres are contented taking their time with their prospects. Although this season has been disappointing for the big club, if they stick to their plan and let their prospects grow at their own pace it should pay off handsomely in the long-term.

Thanks to DailyMotion via our good friend Kris Baker of sabresprospects/, you see what I mean about Antipin.

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