As we continue on this path known as the NHL Lockout, I figured I would give an update on the status of Sabres players and prospects playing around the world. I was able to pull myself into the mood of writing about hockey for the first time in three months today. I went to the Rochester Americans vs Hamilton Bulldogs game a couple weeks ago in downtown Buffalo to get my hockey fix. Seeing some current and future Sabres players play made me wonder about the other Sabres players playing around the globe. So let's see how they are doing.
Let's start in the AHL where some current and future Sabres are currently playing. The Rochester Americans are off to a 5-2-1 record so far this season with NHL caliber players Cody Hodgson, Marcus Foligno, Brayden McNabb, Kevin Porter, Zemgus Girgensons, TJ Brennan, Luke Adam, Mark Pysk, and Corey Tropp on the farm. Here is a quick player break down of each player so far:
Cody Hodgson- CoHo has looked like a man amongst boys so far, which is good news for Sabres fans. Hodgson has 10 points in 8 games for the Amerks and is living up to the playmaker hype. He has 9 assists playing on a line with Amerks leading scorer last season Phil Varone and Marcus Foligno. Hodgson has played well at both ends of the ice and is becoming a force on the PP with his playmaking ability. Hopefully he can continue the playmaking ability at the NHL level if the season does get going this year.
Marcus Foligno- Foligno like Hodgson obviously does not belong in the minors and he's showing it. Foligno has 10 points in 8 games (5 goals 5 assists) playing a first line power forward role. Foligno continues to progress at a rapid pace for the Sabres after his excellent end to the season last year in Buffalo.
Brayden McNabb- McNabb was going to be one of the players fighting for a roster spot with the Sabres on a crowded blue line. McNabb has six points so far this season and is a +3. McNabb and Pysk are playing # 1 pairing minutes and both have thrived.
Zemgus Girgensons- Big Z is having a tough go of it so far to start the season. He has two points in 10 games and is looking for his first pro goal of his career. He is playing on a line with team captain Kevin Porter and Brian Flynn. At 18 years old Girgensons is still learning the pro game and has a bright future ahead.
TJ Brennan- Perhaps the biggest surprise of the season so far Brennan has played extremly well down in Rochester perhaps earning consideration for a position on the Sabres blue line if the season was to start. Brennan has 10 points in 8 games from the blue line (4 goals 6 assists). He is excelling in his role as a power play QB something the Sabres have been looking for since Brian Campbell left.
Mark Pysk- Like Girgensons, Pysk is trying to learn the pro game. He has shown flashes and has 3 points so far on the season. However he is still making mistakes in his own zone which is the reason for the team low -3 rating. When playing with McNabb seems to excel, however when put out with another partner he struggles at times. Pysk will have some more ups and downs however I think he will be a good 3 or 4 defender in the NHL.
Luke Adam- Now we get the to the poor performers so far. Adam continues to regress after his hot start with the Sabres last year. He is now playing the wing and continues to just disappear in games. He has 5 points in 8 games, but is having a hard time back that jump to the next level.
Kevin Porter- Porter was supposed to challenge for a 4th line role with the Sabres however he struggled early in the season in Rochester. He was lost at times in his own zone and out of position. As of late he has picked up now have 7 points in the 8 games so far and has brought his +/- to a -1. Porter was given the honor of being the Amerks captain this year and after a slow start he seems to be turning it around.
Corey Tropp- Only poor luck can be used to describe Tropp's season which is already over. He started off extremley well in his first two games, but a knee injury will sideline Tropp for the remainder of the 2012-13 season.
Mikhail Grigorenko- Grigorenko looks to be steal of the 2012 draft still in my opinion. He has 26 points (11 goals 15 assists) in 14 games for Quebec. Grigorenko's head coach Patrick Roy says that he is learning to be the guy this year. Grigorenko's growth continues to be a good sign for Sabres fans to look forward to.
Thomas Vanek- Playing for the Graz 99ers in his hometown country of Austria, Vanek has played well. He has 11 points in 9 games and has been the leader of the 99ers so far this season in not only scoring, but team leadership as well.
Tyler Ennis- Ennis is playing with his childhood friend in Switzerland for the SC Langnau Tigers. Ennis has only played a few games for the Tigers recording only one point. He missed the last few games with an undisclosed injury, however he did return back to the lineup last night.
Christian Ehrhoff/Alexander Sulzer- Ehrhoff went home to play for the German team Krefeld Pinguine in the German elite league. He has played well with 7 points in 8 games. Although D partner Alexander Sulzer playing with ERC Ingolstadt did beat Ehrhoff's team 3-2 last week. Sulzer would earn his first two points in that game.
Tyler Myers- Myers decided to go play in Austria at teammates Thomas Vanek's request. Myers has only played in a few games for EC KAC recording two points.
Andrej Sekera- Sekera is playing in the KHL for Slovan Bratislava in his native Slovakia. Sekera has 3 points in only a handfull of games with Bratislava. He continues to play well at both ends of the ice growing his defensive game which was much improved last year.
A few other Sabres players Jason Pominville and Ryan Miller are now looking at options of playing somewhere else this year after CBA talks have stalled. With no end in sight for the NHL lockout more Amerks and European blogs may pop up throughout the season.
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