It’s Not Where You’re From…

by Ryan

… but where you’re going.

Today the Sabres’ development camp opens at Niagara University’s Dwyer Arena. It’s a week-long chance to see the future of the team play meaningless scrimmages and run drills you never wanted to watch in the first place.

However, if you’ve been to rookie camp before it becomes a nice chance to see how things are moving along with some of the Sabres’ biggest prospects. Unless you’re Kris Baker it’s difficult to keep tabs on who the Sabres have in the system, and this is as good a time as any to refresh your familiarity.

I have a lot less to bring to the table on this front, but here are a few guys I’m interested to see. If you’re headed down there, here are a few players you might want to keep your eye on.

NHL/– The NHL Five– Of course this means Chris Butler, Mike Weber, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Nathan Gerbe and Tim Kennedy, the five prospects who saw NHL action last year. These five should be a step above hte rest of the players invited to camp, for obvious reasons. We simply have to see these five players stand out at camp. I remember when Drew Stafford participated two years ago and looked like a man among boys. Expect the same from guys like Weber and Butler.

Prospects are the future of your hockey team, but fans always want to see something that matters right away. What we want to see is Nathan Gerbe dominate despite his size, and Weber look downright bored with the level of competition. That’s as good a sign about the immediate strength of this team as you will find here.

– Luke Adam– Luke was drafted last year by GMDR, and was having a solid year with the Montreal Juniors before a freak injury ended his season. Adam had emergency surgery after he ruptured his spleen thanks to a combination of mono and an open ice hit.

Adam’s far from NHL ready, but I’ll be curious to see how he looks after his recovery. He’s also one of my favorite interviews from last year’s Facebooking the Draft Class, and had a pretty strong showing at last year’s camp. I’m hoping for more of the same this time around.

– Tyler Myers– Conventional wisdom says he will see NHL competition this year. Myers stock has risen considerably over the last season, so let’s see just how much better he is. He looked smooth and in control last year, and I expect the same from him here. The further into the summer we go the more likely it appears that Jaro’s points will not be replaced on the free agent market. That means an even bigger impact will be expected from guys like Myers, Butler, and Weber. Again, if that’s the case you want to see domination over the next week.

88659659CC077_2009_NHL_Draf– Marcus Foligno– You’ve heard a ton about the name, but let’s see just what the kid has to offer. I don’t think he does the leap when he scores a goal, but that would be pretty cool, eh?

– Zack Kassian– When you’re the 13th overall pick in the draft, you better put on a show. Don’t expect him to drop the gloves with anyone here, but I bet you see some physical play from him despite the friendly nature of the competition. This will be the first time most Sabres fans get to see Kassian in action, and the pressure will be on.

Is there anyone else you guys are looking forward to seeing?

4 Comments

  1. Mike

    I’m interested to see if Gragnani is able to progress. He’s been getting progressively more offensive production over the past two years in the AHL and looked less out of place when he was with the Sabres than Weber did last year. One of the big reasons the Sabres didn’t make it last year was because of the lack of production from the D corps last year. I partly blame Tallinder for that. I think the Sabres could have survived the loss of Brian Campbell if Tallinder had been able to keep up his offense. But since Campbell has left, the Sabres have been lacking in offensive defenseman, and with Spacek gone, they’ll really be hard up. I think their top offensive D will be Nathan Paetsch.

  2. Ogre39666

    If Enroth is there (not sure if he is), I would like to see him play well if not fantasticly.

  3. Ogre39666

    fantastically*

  4. Mike,

    That last part is downright terrifying. But I think you’re right.

    Ogre,

    Enroth indeed is at camp. Looked pretty good, and he’s as good a reason as any to make the trip to NU this week.