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Sabres Development Camp



blog-0276974001405560666.pngThis week the Buffalo Sabres held their development camp with all the prospects in the system. A chance for the fans to get a look at the real future of the Sabres.

I'll start with main attraction 2014 2nd overall pick Sam Reinhart. Over the first two days in camp you can see Reinhart has come as advertised. He's shifty, great instincts, and quick hands. On the first shift of Tuesday nights scrimmage Reinhart made a great no look pass under pressure right on the tape of 2014 2nd round pick Brendan Lemieux. The thing to watch with Reinhart is how he will stand up to the contact of men who will be out for him this season. Girgensons welcomed Reinhart with a booming hit Tuesday night along the wall Tuesday night and Reinhart jumped right back to his feet. After the scrimmage Reinhart spoke how he liked the contact and players trying to run him will just cause them to be out of position. I have no doubt in my mind Reinhart will be on the opening night roster.

Camp stand outs:

  • Rasmus Ristolainen- Risto looked like a man among boys. I find it hard to believe Risto will not start in Buffalo this season. He's too good to be sent back to Rochester. Only excuse they could give is to let him work on his offensive game in the AHL. A lot of upside around this kid; he is the building block of the Sabres blue line for years to come.

  • Mikhail Grigorenko- The 2012 1st round has been a disappointment up to this point. However this year Grigo is back with a new attitude. The 20 year old has dropped the entitlement attitude and has accepted responsibility for his career. Telling the media that if he doesn't start the season in Buffalo he has nobody to blame but himself. Grigo has also worked hard in the offseason adding on 10 lbs. of muscle and it shows. He has been a dominant player in camp. A great sign for the Sabres

  • Nikita Zadorov- Zadorov came up with a bang last year before being sent back to London by the new management regime. He also put on about 10 lbs. of muscle in the offseason and moves extremely well for a player his size. Zadorov will likely be headed back to London for one more season. However in 15-16 season he'll be ready to join a stacked blue line with Pysyk, Myers, Ristolainen, and McCabe.

  • Nick Baptiste- The 2013 3rd round pick continues to just score goals. Last year in Sudbury Baptiste potted 45 goals in 65 games. In every appearance (Traverse City and development camp) Baptise scored in every game/scrimmage except one. The puck always seems to find the 6'0 forward. Baptiste will be a player to watch in the coming years as the 18 year old heads back to Sudbury next season.

  • Linus Ullmark- The 2012 6th round pick is the goalie of the future in my opinion. Ullmark has been outstanding in camp so far. Last year for Modo in the Swedish Elite League Ullmark had a 2.08 GAA and .931 save % on his way to winning goalie of the year. Ullmark will heading back to Modo this year, but he'll be a big part of the Sabres future.

  • Other notes- Newly acquired Jordan Samuels-Thomas is the true definition of a power forward, Brendan Lemieux shares the same feisty attitude his dad played with, Hudson Fasching and William Carrier are big and fast.

The one disappointment of camp for me has been the play of 2011 1st round pick Joel Armia. Armia didn't develop the way I hoped he would last year in Rochester. The Finish forward needs to have a good season in Rochester next year to have a chance to make the jump to the NHL in the near future.

Development camp wraps up after tomorrow's session. The way camp has gone this week Sabres fans have a lot to be excited about with three more 1st round picks coming in the 2015 draft.


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