Thursday, June 28, 2018

Players to watch at Sabres development camp--Rasmus Dahlin...(and)

Published by, 6-27-2018

Workouts begin today at HarborCenter for the Buffalo Sabres Development Camp.

Here's the schedule via

Wednesday, June 27:  2:30 to 3:30 p.m. and 4 to 5 p.m.
Thursday, June 28: 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Friday, June 29: 9:15 to 10:15 a.m. and 10:45 to 11:45 a.m.
Saturday, June 30: French Connection Tournament: 10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Forty-two players are scheduled to be in attendance including 2018 first-overall pick Rasmus Dahlin as well as Buffalo's other five draftees from this past weekend:

--LHD Mattias Samuelsson, 32nd-overall
--C Matej Pekar, 94th
--LHD Linus Lindstrand Cronholm, 117th
--RHD Miska Kukkonen, 125th
--LHD William Worge Kreu, 187th

Center Eric Cornell represents the ranking member of the 2014 draft class as he was selected 44th-overall that year while Worge Kreu, as the last pick in for Buffalo in the 2018 draft, represents the newest member.

Cornel is amongst eight players who played at the pro-level last season while GM Jason Botterill, AGM Randy Sexton and Co. invited 12 undrafted players, two of which have already been signed by the Rochester Americans to AHL contracts--LW, Pascal Aquin (Charlottetown, QMJHL) and D, Tobie Paquette-Bisson (Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, QMJHL.) The invitees include six wingers, four defensemen and two goalies.

Outside of the eight who played at the pro level and the invitees, the breakdown of where the rest of the prospects played can be found here. Ten players attended college last year, nine played overseas, two (Samuelsson and Pekar) played in the USHL and one player, Cliff Pu, was in Canadian Junior.

Having said that, it's probably best to remember that this is a development camp and not training camp. Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen put it this way when talking about his camp. “I’ve always said this: ‘It’s not an evaluation camp in July. It’s an educational camp — fun, teaching what it means to be a pro," he told the Columbus Dispatch. "We’ll evaluate them when we get to hockey season. Not in July.”

Which is how it should be as players are coming in from all areas of the world having finished their seasons at different time and having vastly different periods away for team workouts and on-ice competition.

However, the Sabres brass and those in attendance will come away from the workouts and eventual 3-on-3 with some thoughts on these prospects and where they might be later this summer and into the fall. We're very familiar with the likes of Casey Mittelstadt and Brendan Guhle, who will take on more of a leadership role for this group, but there are others who have plenty of intrigue surrounding them, as well as another group that are looking to make a great impression. Here are some players to look at during this week's Sabres Development Camp.

LHD, Rasmus Dahlin

Obviously. Sabreland will get the opportunity to watch some of the traits that make him so special, like his skating and stickwork and in the 3-on-3 they'll be able to see how he navigates in tight areas.

LW, Alexander Nylander

With him it will be his size and the shape that he's in. Everything is critical for him right now in the eyes of the organization.  “Probably the most important offseason of training in his young life, really,” Sexton said to the gathered media post-draft on Saturday. “It’s critical for him.”

We know he has the skill, which will be on display, but where's that compete. Hopefully we'll see
some of that in the 3-on-3.

LW, Victor Olofsson

Will be great to see first-hand just what kind of sniping ability the SHL's leading goal-scorer last season has

LHD, Lawrence Pilut

Pilut signed with Buffalo after winning the Swedish Hockey League's Defenseman of the Year Award. This camp will be more about his skating and stickwork as opposed to the way he loves to jump into the play in games.

RHD, Casey Fitzgerald

The right side on defense will have openings in the near future and the offensive-minded Fitzgerald has had his name brought up by Sabres brass recently. For him it will be if he's improved upon his skating which was pretty solid to begin with. Botterill and Co. will get the opportunity to see if he's improved in those areas and hopefully can figure out why his overall numbers have dropped since his banner freshman season of 27 points (4+23) in 39 games with a plus-27 rating for Boston College (Hockey East.)

RHD, Will Borgen

Another d-man who has opportunity in front of him on the right side of the defense corps. Borgen got a good taste of the AHL this year while playing in eight games for the Amerks after leaving St. Cloud State early. The defensive defenseman is an excellent skater and he keeps it simple in his own end. Maneuverability in tight should be his focus although he should be able to handle any of the forwards thrown at him in competitive drills.

G, Jonas Johansson

As part of the 2014 draft class, Johansson is one of the "elder statesmen" of camp. The 6'5" 214 lb. Johansson made the move to North America full time last season and struggled while spending most of his time in the ECHL. Last year's backup to Linus Ullmark, Adam Wilcox, just re-signed with Rochester and looks to be the starter. Unless Johansson can make an impression, beginning this week.

LW, Linus Weissbach

Enjoy his hands and skating ability. The seventh-rounder (2017, 192nd) continued to impress after making the jump from Tri-City of the USHL (19g, 28a in 49 games) to the University of Wisconsin
where he scored 26 points (10+16) in 34 Big-10 games.

D, Griffin Luce

Staying in the Big-10, Luce has the bloodlines (grandfather Don Luce is a former Sabre) and some impressive size (6'3" 214 lbs.) When his Michigan Wolverines played Mittelstadt and his Minnesota Golden Gophers, Luce was relentless in his pursuit and coverage of Buffalo's 2017 first-rounder showing the ability to stay with talented players. A solid player with definite hockey tools.

C, Cliff Pu

Pu is back again and look for him to take charge in his third development camp. The 6'2" 191 lb. center just signed his entry-level deal after working on his all-around game in the OHL this season.

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