Focus On Prospects, September 14
It’s my second installment of Black & Blue & Gold’s Focus On Prospects and I’m going to open off today’s entry with Kris Baker’s (or from here on out, Bakes) comment on my first of the series:
Good things to come out of the Dub this year. Boychuk should spread his wings, Sundher will no doubt elevate his game, and MacKenzie is the giant sleeper of the bunch. Keep an eye on him. He’s going to be the man on the Hitmen blueline and in-line for a big season.
Spotlight is on Pysyk, McNabb, and Fienhage though. The first two can maybe squeak on to Team Canada, and Fienhage is going to show the Sabres that he hasn’t lost a step despite two seasons of limited action.
I’ll have more on what he speculated on after the jump, so let’s get to the action!
With camp underway, Mike Harrington has The Buffalo News on the scene early. The Sabres Edge blog also has audio from Lindy Ruff and also a pile of prospects (including a great video report from practice). Sabres Edge also has the updated camp schedule. Lastly, in the Sabres & NHL section of TBN’s site, Harrington has a couple of nice articles on David Leggio’s journey to the big time and Tyler Ennis’ damn-near guaranteed role in the top six.
At the conclusion of camp, keep an eye on the prospect rankings at Sabres Prospects to see who rose and who fell.
Rookie camp is under way at HSBC Arena, and plenty of Pirates are in attendance. Check the above section for all the links on rookie camp. With head coach Kevin Dineen in attendance at rookie camp, expect some good stuff from Chris Roy. He’s the mind behind Maine Hockey Journal and the man to go to for Pirates news and insight.
It’s still the preseason in the OHL, but that hasn’t stopped big Zack Kassian from kickin’ butt. He’s clicked with new Spitfire Sergei Khokhlachev on the score sheet and Whalers’ forward Ben Holtom with his fists. Already the baddest man in the OHL (and a Southpaw, no less), Kassian’s workload this season is to improve his scoring game.
[[UPDATE: Kassian has 7 pts and that fighting major through 2 preseason games]]
Since it’s preseason, I’m not going to highlight the other OHL prospects. Come regular season (and this applies to the WHL and NCAA – the QMJHL has already hit the regular season), I’ll be posting statlines for the prospects with any videos that Bakes has on his site.
Entering rookie camp, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc has 2 points in two games by Bakes’ math and Henley has 1. However, the Q site lists Gauthier-Leduc as only having 1 point, meaning he may have had one of his assists taken away. Who knows.
The WHL, like the OHL, is still in pre-season. But thanks to Bakes’ insight (via the quoted comment posted before the jump), we know the storylines going into this year. Regarding his quip about Boychuk getting ready to spread his wings, he’s possibly on the verge of kicking some serious butt this year. If he continues to follow Goose’s career path, he ought to break out on the stat sheet in a big way.
Meanwhile, Kevin Sundher is looking to bring some regularity to his game, Corey Fienhage (reportedly pronounced “Fin-huh-gee”) is primed to show that he made the right choice moving to the Dub from the NCAA, and both McNabb and Pysyk will fight for Team Canada roster spots to play in Buffalo this winter. This MacKenzie fellow doesn’t strike me as much, but if Bakes is propping him up, keep an eye on that kid.
Ain’t nothin’ but nothin’ to report on the NCAA as I don’t even think informal activites have started yet. The season will begin in October, which is when we’ll cover the college action.
All right, kiddos, looks like another installment wrapped up. I’m going to try and get some words from Bakers to put in every post, so we can get some of the master’s thoughts on the baby Sabres.