Sabres Prospect Development Camp, Day 3
By now, Sabres fans all know about Tyler Ennis, Luke Adam, and Zack Kassian. Brayden McNabb is pretty recognizable now, too. So for day three of the Buffalo Sabres prospect development camp, they were shuffled off to Dwyer Arena’s smaller auxiliary rink while the organization’s less accomplished kiddies took part in drills on Niagara University’s main sheet of ice.
Today, Team White took top billing in front of the couple hundred Sabres fans who made the trek to Lewiston, NY. Marcus Foligno was undoubtedly the main draw for Team White, as proven by the cheers from fans for the banger that lasted well after practice ended. The first thing that jumps out at you at this year’s camp is how much Foligno has evolved from a human missile into a leader. He still throws the body around a bit and has a wicked shot, but he’s taken more to helping out the new guys during drills.
Returning speedster Kevin Sundher and shiny new draftee Daniel Catenacci (@DanCatenacci) were all over the ice during practice this morning, showing off quick start/stop speed and fancy stickwork down low. Both youngsters show definite top 6 NHL potential even this early in their careers.
A couple of guys that weren’t at last year’s camp – late Pirates addition Shawn Szydlowski and undrafted invitee John McCarron – both made notable impressions in different ways. Szydlowski showed off his high-running motor and work ethic while McCarron displayed his willingness to run through skaters at any moment. The former Erie Otter, Szydlowski treated the fans in attendance to a little of what made him such an attractive target of Kevin Dineen’s. Anyone who had been to previous camps would recognize the look in McCarron’s eyes as he cruised the ice – Patrick Kaleta often has the same look on his face while hunting for that game-changing hit.
On the back end, Corey Fienhage and Drew MacKenzie both showed a proclivity for mashing bodies along the boards but it was night and day between the two prospects in open ice. While MacKenzie tracked the play fairly well, Fienhage tended to get lost in the action. TJ Brennan had an up and down day again. Some drills, he didn’t seem to be paying attention or got muscled off the puck and then others he held the fort at the blueline or made a dynamite play down low. He’s just got to focus and he’ll be A-OK.
In nets for Team White were invitee (and Hamburg’s own) John Cullen and Miami (OH) Redhawk netminder Connor Knapp (@knapper311). Neither goalie really stood out (for good or for bad) today, but each player did made a couple of pretty saves. Cullen made a lunging glove save on Jacob Lagace while out of position while Knapp channeled Dominic Hasek and successfully pulled off a rolling kick save. It’s apparent Cullen still needs seasoning while playing for Windsor (OHL), while Knapp may be ready to jump to the AHL as soon as this upcoming NCAA season is over.
The Sabres have one more day of drills before their regular two days of scrimmages to close out camp. Tomorrow’s on-ice session begins at 9:45AM as per the past two days but runs an hour longer with a scheduled end at 12:45PM. If you or someone you know is interested in getting autographs, come early to get your jersey/rookie cards/et al signed.