Monday, March 5, 2018

Welcome to the scoresheet, Danny O'Regan. Plus Amerks and other notes

Published by hockeybuzz.com, 3-4-2018


He was Jack Eichel's wingman at Boston University on a Terriers team that made it to the 2015 NCAA Men's Championship game in Eichel freshman year, and only year, in college. He was also a team mate of Eichel's other wingman that season, Evan Rodrigues, if three of his four college seasons. Eichel was selected second-overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Rodrigues was a free agent signee by the Sabres the third member of the line that combined for 159 points (55 goals + 104 assists) in 108 game, Daniel O'Regan, was a 2012 fifth round pick (138th overall) of the San Jose Sharks.

O'Regan was born in Berlin, Germany where, according to his wiki page, he spent parts of his childhood there before his father retired from hockey and returned to the United States. After leaving St. Sebastian Prep School, O'Regan spent a season with the US National Development Program before heading to BU. The smallish forward scored 38 points (16+22) his freshman season and was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie team.

After his final year in college, O'Regan began his professional career with the San Jose Barracuda (SJS) where he proceeded to lead the team in scoring with 25 goals and 58 points in 63 games and won the 2016-17 AHL's Dudley "Red" Garrett Award as the league's Rookie of the Year in the process. Over the course of the past two seasons, the San Jose Sharks called up O'Regan for a total of 22 games where he scored one goal and added four assists.

The general consensus on O'Regan is that he's a highly skilled, versatile forward with a great set of hands for scoring or setting up with the big question mark being his overall smallish stature at  5'10" 185 lbs. Rochester American's head coach Chris Taylor had this to say about O'Regan via the team's website, “I heard he’s really smart and he can score goals, so that helps. But first and foremost, I heard he’s a great person on and off the ice, and that’s what we want. We want good people in our dressing room.”

O'Regan came to the Sabres organization in a February26, 2018 trade deadline deal that sent Buffalo's Evander Kane to the Sharks for O'Regan and a pair of conditional draft picks. The following day he was on the ice for the Rochester's morning skate and played in his first game for the Amerks that night with zero points in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (NYI.)

Last night the Amerks took on the division-leading Toronto Marlies (TOR) and O'Regan scored his first two goals for Rochester in a 4-1 win over their rivals. His second was an empty-netter but his first was described for what it was, "a skill goal" as seen at the 1:40-mark of the Marlies TV video:




The Amerks face off against the Laval Rocket (MTL) today in a 3 pm matinee at Blue Cross Arena.


*****

Rochester has been struggling for a while after challenging for the top spot in the North Division at one time. However, the Amerks haven't fallen off the face of the earth thanks to a stretch where they've gotten points in 17 of their last 23 games. They head into today's game five points behind the second place Syracuse Crunch (TBL) but with one game in hand.

Adding O'Regan could be a big boost for the Amerks but even without him, some Amerks have been picking up the pace lately.

Forward Justin Bailey, who's been dealing with injury all season, has four goals and five points in his last four games. Second-year pro Alexander Nylander has a four-game point-streak (1+3) and goalie Linus Ullmark looks to be regaining his All-Star form. In his last two games Ullmark has stopped 51 of 54 shots (.944 save percentage) and has not allowed more than two goals in four of his last five games.

All three were contributors in last night's win over Toronto.

A couple of quick notes: 

As shown in the video above, Ullmark is really looking solid. While under duress a couple of times he never flopped around and always kept his head up and body square to the action in and around him. The Marlies were knocking on the door twice in the second period with the Amerks up 2-0 but Ullmark shut it tight.

Nylander got his assist last night after starting an around the horn play with Rochester on the powerplay. But earlier in the game he failed to bear down on a puck and allowed two defenders to quickly collapse on him and stifle a scoring opportunity. Its true that Amerks center Sean Malone probably should have taken the shot instead of passing but Nylander didn't show any desire whilst in an upright position on that play.


*****

Casey Mittelstadt (2017, 8th) and his Minnesota Golden Gophers were swept out of the Big-10 Tournament and are in a precarious positon to get an invite to the Men's D-1 Tournament later this month. Mittelstadt score three goals and added two assists in the two losses to Penn State and finishes his freshman season with 30 points (11+19) in 34 games for Minnesota.

I'm going to be a little selfish here, while also veering away from my normal thought process when it comes to prospects, and say that I'd like to see the Sabres organization sign him now. If they can avoid burning a year off of his entry-level deal by signing him to an AHL contract, even better.

Although the numbers aren't eye-popping by any stretch of the imagination, for one, Mittelstadt was on a sub-par Gophers team. One may also want to take into account that he's a freshman playing against players two, three and four years older than him.

Mittelstadt has the skills and at 6'0" 201 lbs has much of the size needed to get started at the pro level so the jump to the AHL may not be as big for him. Plus adding that type of skill to the Amerks will only make that team better.

Much will be determined by the NCAA selection committee, but if the Gophers are out, I'm of the opinion that Sabres GM Jason Botterill should get that kid in Rochester learning the pro game.

Watch Casey Mittelstadt capture a goal and two helpers last night in Minnesota's 6-5 loss at Penn State. Gophers bounced from B1G tourney, now await NCAA brackets on 3/18. Mittelstadt: 34GP 11-19-30 pic.twitter.com/vwk8E1GJyA
&mdash">https://t.co/vwk8E1GJyA">pic.twitter.com/vwk8E1GJyA
— Kris Baker (@SabresProspects) March">https://twitter.com/SabresProspects/status/970297544440975361?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 4, 2018
*****

The Sabres are on the ice today getting ready for their first matchup of the season against the rival Toronto Maple Leafs tomorrow night.

Yes, you read that right, the Sabres and Leafs will face off tonight in Buffalo's 65th game of the season and will be playing each other four times over the next four weeks.

According to reports at the rink, Marco Scandella is back on the ice after leaving the ice during Buffalo's game at Florida on Friday.

Here's the lines and d-pairings from those at the rink today:

Girgensons-O’Reilly-Reinhart
Wilson-Larsson-Pominville
Pouliot-Griffith-Baptiste
Nolan-Josefson-Okposo

Scandella-Ristolainen
Antipin-Nelson Gorges-
Falk/Beaulieu

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